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Plagiarism accusation: ITA Airlines demands its competitor Aeroitalia to abandon its look and name

Plagiarism accusation: ITA Airlines demands its competitor Aeroitalia to abandon its look and name

Alitalia no longer exists, but its brand exists. This is now causing a dispute between ITA Airways and the private company Aeroitalia.

ITA Airways bought the rights to the Alitalia brand for €90 million in October 2021. How it will be used is not yet entirely clear. But there is at least speculation that the airline could use the brand for long-haul flights in the future – because it is well known and has a good reputation, especially abroad, the logic goes. However, it is currently at the center of a dispute between ITA Airways and its own rival Aeroitalia.

Aeroitalia has been flying since summer 2022. The airline’s fleet currently consists of seven Boeing 737 aircraft and two ATR 72 aircraft, which are operated by Aero Connect. But if ITA Airways can achieve its goal, these planes will soon have to look different. Because Alitalia’s successor accuses the competitor that the painting is a plagiarism of Alitalia’s design.

Registered trademark in fall 2022

According to a recent report by the newspaper Corriere della Sera Aeroitalia filed a trademark application with the European Union Intellectual Property Office last year. The application included the name Aeroitalia and the use of a stylized Italian tricolor “A” logo. Now, a year later, ITA Airways is challenging that.

The Italian patent firm has published a challenge to the trademark application Aeroitalia on behalf of ITA Airways. In particular, the A on the tail fin closely resembles the Alitalia logo. But people are also upset by the name Aeroitalia. The entire branding concept is said to “clearly resemble that of Alitalia’s aircraft, not only because of the obvious phonetic, graphic and/or conceptual similarities, but also because of the aircraft’s livery”.

“A clear violation of the acquired rights of the Information Technology Authority”

This represents a clear violation of the rights acquired by ITA Airways, as Aeroitalia is exploiting Alitalia’s good reputation through the brand concept. They therefore demand “the immediate abandonment of the Aeroitalia trademark registrations in Italy and the European Union” as well as the withdrawal and abandonment of all other applications or registrations of this kind.

Furthermore it. In addition to the name and brand change, ITA Airways is also demanding damages from the competitor. How unclear the complaint is. Aeroitalia now has ten days to comply. “Further measures” will then be taken.

Aeroitalia defends itself

Aeroitalia president Gaetano Interieri described the contents of the letter addressed to the newspaper Corriere della Sera as “flimsy, baseless and extremely late.” It seems strange to him that ITA did not become aware of the existence of the Aeroitalia brand and avatar until about two years later, “which had been studied and designed by a highly competent brand management company and fully met the standards of characterization and differentiation.”

ITA accuses Airways of feeling threatened by the growth of its rival. “Especially on the roads leading to Sicily. ITA is increasingly losing customers who choose us. After Ryanair, we are now the ones pushing for ITA. However, according to data provider Cirium, Aeroitalia will occupy fifth place among airlines serving Sicily in 2023. ITA Airways is second only to Ryanair.