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Italy’s New Flag Carrier ITA Airways Demands Rival Changes Name and Logo Because of Alleged Similarities With Defunct Alitalia

Italy’s New Flag Carrier ITA Airways Demands Rival Changes Name and Logo Because of Alleged Similarities With Defunct Alitalia

a plane flying in the sky

Italy’s new national flag carrier, ITA Airways, which was created in 2021 to replace the debt-laden Alitalia brand, has taken issue with a privately owned rival airline, alleging its name and logo is too similar to the now defunct Alitalia and has demanded a complete rebrand in the next ten days.

Aeroitalia was launched last year by Francesco Gaetano Intrieri with the backing of a German private equity investor. The airline currently has a fleet of seven Boeing 737 jets and two ATR turboprops, serving destinations across Italy, as well as across Europe and the United Kingdom.

a group of airplanes on a runway
Does the Alitalia tailfin logo remind you of Aeroitalia’s logo?

According to Corriere Della Sera, the airline filed a trademark application with the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office last year. Included in the application was the Aeroitalia name, as well as the use of a stylized ‘A’ logo in Italy’s tricolor.

Over a year later, the Italian Patent Society published a challenge to Aeroitalia’s trademark application on behalf of ITA Airways, which claims the airline’s name and logo is too similar to Alitalia.

Despite the fact that Alitalia doesn’t formally exist anymore, ITA Airways acquired the rights to the Alitalia brand for a reported €90 million.

At the time, ITA Airways said it bought the old brand to stop it from falling into the hands of rivals, although there is speculation that new minority shareholder Lufthansa might want to resurrect the Alitalia brand because it is already well-known globally.

In its challenge, ITA Airways says it “learned with astonishment and understandable concern” of Aeroitalia’s trademark application.

“These marks, similar to those of Alitalia and “rudder design”, are in conflict with Ita’s prior rights not only because of their obvious phonetic and/or graphic and/or conceptual similarities, but also because of their use on the liveries and rudders of the aircraft, which clearly recall those of Alitalia’s aircraft,” the objection continued.

“Your trademarks represent a clear violation of ITA’s exclusive rights and take unjustified advantage of the reputation of ITA’s trademarks.”

ITA has not only demanded that Aeroitalia immediately change its name and logo, and rename its website but also reach a financial settlement with ITA for damages and legal expenses.

Aeroitalia has been given just ten days to reach an amicable settlement with ITA, although Intrieri has suggested that his airline has no intention of caving to ITA’s demands.

Intrieri says ITA Airways is only now challenging Aeroitalia because the airline has grown much faster than they had anticipated and is now poaching customers, especially on flights to Sicily. Intrieri also says Aeroitalia employed a “highly qualified trademark management company” when they designed the logo in order to avoid a trademark clash.

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