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Posh Richemont latest to sue Stelios

Time for easyWatch to appear in court

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EasyGroup is facing yet another court case after being sued by Swiss luxury goods outfit Richemont. The company, headed by entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is already being sued by France Telecom's mobile division Orange over easyGroup's use of the colour "orange".

Now it seems Richemont - the posh company behind brands including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc - has got the hump with Stelios' online watch business, easyWatch, suing it for naming one of its range of watches after the Italian port of Portofino.

"In July Richemont told easyWatch to stop using its 'Portofino' trademark and to stop selling counterfeit watches," said easyGroup in a statement today. But easyGroup maintains that it is not breaching any trademarks and rejected claims that its own watches - which sell for between £10 and £20 each - are "counterfeit".

easyWatch has been summoned to appear in court in The Netherlands next Wednesday (November 23).

No one from Richemont was available for comment at the time of writing.

However, in a statement Stelios said: "If anyone at all could confuse an easyWatch with a Richemont watch then I should be charging $2,500 for an easyWatch instead of £9.95.

"I have now recently twice been sued by big, bullying companies that are worried about a smaller player in their industry offering consumers lower prices. Neither Richemont nor France Telecom have anyone's interests at heart but their own, all they want to do is to protect their ability to charge a fortune."

In May, easyGroup threatened legal action against a Welsh business which had been trading as easymobile since 2003 - some two years before the launch of Stelios' no-frills cellco business easyMobile.com.®

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