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easyGroup wins easy.com appeal

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The London High Court has upheld a previous ruling that gave multi-national conglomerate easyGroup intellectual property rights to the easy.com trade mark.

In March, easyGroup, parent of easyJet, easyMobile, easyCruise and many other "easy" brands, won a trademark for easy.com. But ISP Easynet, the internet service provider owned by bskyb, appealed this decision and took the case to the High Court in London.

Last Friday, the court again ruled that the easy.com trademark is distinctive, giving more weight to the already bulging group of companies.

Easynet was ordered to pay both sides' costs.

easyGroup says the judgement will award it more "legal rights...to defend the use of the 'easy' brand across the 15 businesses that are trading so far".

easyGroup managing director Stelios Haji-Ioannou has campaigned against othere "easy" domain name owners for over six years, accusing them of "passing off" on its name - even though EasyGroup was informed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in 2000 that it was not entitled to domain names with the word "easy". The English High Court also ruled against EasyGroup, saying the word "easy" was too common in the English language.

But in spite of some setbacks and criticism of being a "rich bully", Sir Stelios' crusade seems to be at full throttle.

Last week he advertised for a managing director to run easyGroup IP, part of whose mandate is to "protect the 'easy' brand by companies who aim to mislead the public by inferring [sic] that they are members of easyGroup".

easyGroup is currently selling franchises and licensing its brand. The easy giant says it "will defend its brand and intellectual property on behalf of licensees and franchisees as well as on behalf of the millions of consumers who trust their money to easyGroup businesses around the world".

"If there is any chance that consumers could be confused into believing that a company is part of the easyGroup when in fact it is not, then the easyGroup is duty bound to protect its brand and those consumers."

We can breathe a sigh of relief then. ®

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