Feeds

Wanted: Protector of the (easy) faith

Easy peasy IP squeezy

The essential guide to IT transformation

easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou shows few signs of abandoning his megalomaniacal campaign to own all things prefixed "easy".

In the FT last Wednesday, the hyperactive entrepreneur advertised for a managing director to run easyGroup IP (eGIP), his private company. The job is worth between £120K and £150K a year, and the candidate should have a legal qualification, 10 to 15 years work experience, preferably in licensing and franchising, and experience of managing a P&L.

The successful candidate will own and manage the easy brand through licensing and royalty agreements – there are currently 14 easy branded businesses. Plenty more, no doubt, are coming downstream.

The other main role of eGIP is to "protect the 'easy' brand by companies who aim to mislead the public by inferring [sic] that they are members of easyGroup".

This suggests that Stelios's campaign to wrest domain names with "easy" in them will continue at full pelt.

In 2000, easyGroup suffered a legal setback when the World Intellectual Property Organisation ruled that it was not entitled to domain names with the word "easy". But since then it has threatened numerous lawsuits against purported "brand thieves". Undoubtedly, many small businesses will have caved in to demands to hand over their "easy" names. This is cheaper, after all, than slugging it out in courts.

easyGroup has a mixed track record in cases that have come to court - in 2001, it won easyrealestate and, in 2003, lassoed easycarfinance, after a successful day in the English High Court. But since then it has been less backed away from or lost lawsuits against easypizza.co.uk, easyart.com and easyhotels.ch.

The problem for Stelios is that "easy" is well, so, common. And while he may claw back IP rights from so-called brand thieves, his legal blunderbuss leaves him at risk of being branded a "rich bully". Repeated enough times, and Stelios - a household name in the UK (at least his first name is) - could end up losing his personal brand as the cuddly face of British entrepreneurialism.

If you are a small business, operating under the name "Easy-", or thinking about doing this, take heed of this advice, penned by Reg colleague Kieren McCarthy in 2003.

If you copy the well-known trademark orange, cuddly font and lowercase "e" that has become so well known through EasyJet and EasyCar, you deserve to have Mr Haji-Iannou's undoubted legal might directed your way.

If, however, you register an internet domain containing the word "easy" meaning "not needing much work or effort; free from pain, care or anxiety", you have every reason to believe the law will stand by you and declare it as your legitimate property. That is, if you can afford the £50,000 it will cost to get you there. Stelios can.

®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.