The easyGroup publicise that they take a hard line approach against “brand thieves” allegedly piggybacking off the goodwill and reputation they have built up in their easy brands. A recent legal action was taken to protect easyJet against confusion with another low-cost airline called EasySky.
In reliance on EU and UK registered “easy” trade marks, for brands such as easyjet, easycar and easybus, the easyGroup successfully obtained a High Court order requiring Honduras-based airline, EasySky to:
- change their EasySky name – removing the ‘easy’ prefix;
- remove the EasySky branding from the body of their aircrafts; and
- transfer the domain name easysky.hn to the easyGroup.
EasySky were also ordered to stop using the name on their website and social media pages – to the extent that this use targets consumers in the EU and/or UK and infringes the easyGroup’s EU and/or UK marks.
Fighting for their fleet
EasySky recently hit the headlines following a fatal crash involving one of their aircrafts. The easyGroup jumped into action, to protect the goodwill and reputation of the easy brand, when their customers confused the Honduran airline as being linked to easyJet.
EasyJet is a well-known low cost airline. Operating over 802 routes domestically, within Europe and internationally, across more than 31 countries, it is a name which is well known to the public for travel services. This confusion between the airlines was enough to potentially damage the repute of the easyGroup/Jet brand and infringe the trade marks.
It has not always been plain sailing for the easyGroup in protecting their brand. Earlier this year the High Court held that their word mark ‘EASY’ was invalid in relation to temporary accommodation and advertising services as it was descriptive and had not acquired distinctiveness, in relation to these services, on its own. The Court noted that such use of the word ‘easy’ was rather synonymous as a prefix to a word, particularly in white font against an orange background – or the converse.
The sky is the limit
The easyGroup does not therefore have a monopoly over the word ‘easy’, yet. However, with the ever growing family of brands encompassing; easyHotel, easyEnergy, easyCoffee and easyDogwalker, to name but a few, it is possible that one day they will, as the law can protect apparently every day common words which take on a brand meaning through extensive use and public recognition.