I Am Not a Virgin Jeans Company Runs Afoul Of Richard Branson

Billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson has some choice words for new denim label "I Am Not a Virgin," which is cheekily named after the brand’s promise of using recycled material.

We’ve already seen the highlight reel that is Richard Branson’s life story, but there was nothing in it about the billionaire’s litigious side. It comes as something of a surprise then to learn that Branson has entered Facebook territory, sending out a cease-and-desist letter to an upstart designer jeans label that incorporates the word "Virgin" in its title.

Considering that the jeans in question are made from a unique mix of 75% virgin cotton and 25% recycled synthetics including recycled beer bottles, the name "I Am Not a Virgin" makes sense in context. Its worst crime would appear to be the juvenile naughtiness of alluding to sex, rather than copyright infringement. Nonetheless, a video promoting the New York-based company emerged last week, featuring a dramatic reading of the letter Branson sent IANAV’s founder, Peter Heron.

"Does that mean people are going to get confused when they see a bottle of extra virgin olive oil as well?" Heron asks pointedly after the letter stresses that the denim label’s name invites confusion. Branson goes on to offer suggestions on other names the label might use instead, such as "I Am Not Pure" and "I Am Not Chaste," which clearly do not have the same ring to them. As of now, Heron is not backing down, and he invites viewers of the video to lend their support by writing their name in the comments section of his video on YouTube.

Heron launched IANAV recently with partner and fellow advertising creative Walt Connelly inspired by the fact that millions of tons of denim waste ends up in landfills each year.

Below, you can watch the video Heron created to launch the brand, asking people on the street about how they lost their virginity.

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  • Desjef

    This is what happens when you grant a generic word like Virgin trademark status.

    Jeff Ex-Virgin

  • richard bludworth

    I admire Virgin and Branson but he needs
    to pick on someone his own size

  • Luis Salome

    Once upon a time I was a virgin. Probably I'm under a potential conflict hazard too... Go IANAV!

  • Alan Stimpson

    What about the 40 year old virgin does he Own that ?
    Or Vigrin islands,
    Does he own every actual virgin on this Planet?
    The term "I'm a virgin" does he get royalties everytime it's said by a young couple before they take the plunge ?
    As mentioned extra virgin oil how does he stand on that one?
    Oh virgin Roled cigars he must make a fortune of Cuba.

    Stick with it Pete and Co.

    Hey I wonder does he give Branson pickles any money as he uses their name everyday!!!!!

  • Christina Macpherson

    Bravo.  I hope that you win.
    All of us should be "not a Virgin" -  we should distance ourselves from Richard Branson.
    Branson claims to care about the environment and the planet.
    BUT - his latest move - to grab yet more fame, and yet more money, perhaps too - is to support the last ditch effort of the nuclear industry to resuscitate itself.
    In an extraordinary "con game" the nuclear industry is now trying to renew its (financially and environmentally) disastrous project for "fast breeder reactors".
    Branson is now promoting a new, untested, plan for PRISM  (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module) -  supposed to "eat up" plutonium wastes, and produce well, smaller amounts of toxic radioactive wastes (that will still need disposal). 
    Like Bill Gates, Branson is using his great international standing to promote the toxic nuclear industry.

  • alissajean

    Unfortunately not surprising, but I hope IANAV prevails - love the creative marketing on this ;-)