Feeds

Wanted: Protector of the (easy) faith

Easy peasy IP squeezy

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.

®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.