Sir Stelios goes to court to stop unauthorised use of EASY brand
On Tuesday 14th November 2017, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Stelios), entrepreneur and philanthropist (www.stelios.org) and owner of the EASY family of brands (www.easy.com ), will go to the High Court in London to attempt to stop another businessman’s unauthorised use of the EASY brand.
The opponent is London-based French businessman Yannick Pons, who owns an online classified advertisement site called “Vivastreet” as well using the “easy” prefix on about 10 websites throughout Europe including “easyRoommate“, “easyKamer” and “easyPiso” offering accommodation online. The lawsuit is against Mr Pons personally but also his Jersey, Channel Islands incorporated off-shore company with the non-descript name “W3”.
London-based French businessman Yannick Pons
The current court case was initiated in 2015 by Mr Pons as an “unjustified threats case” against easyGroup Ltd, Stelios’ private investment company registered in the UK and legal owner of the EASY family of brands with more than one thousand registered trademarks in its name. After two years of legal wrangling, the Judge will be asked by Stelios’ lawyers to stop Mr Pons from trading off the EASY brand throughout Europe. Stelios has had a long standing policy goal since the 1990’s to prevent the unauthorised use of the EASY brand within markets served by his EASY family of brands.
“The fact that some sharp business people find it profitable to imitate the EASY brand is a back handed compliment to the strength of the brand I have created (think imitation Ralph Lauren or Rolex). I was chuffed when in the recent article (6 November 2017) in the respected Global Legal Post we got a mention alongside these two famous brands and Oxford University as examples of companies who take protecting their own intellectual property seriously”.
After 23 years of working on developing the EASY family of brands throughout Europe, Stelios believes he has earned this right to stop others from misusing the mark EASY for two main reasons: to protect consumers who are confused into thinking that they are dealing with his group but in fact they are dealing with an imitator or brand thief but also to prevent any damage to the officially licenced EASY brands including easyJet, easyHotel, easyCar, easyProperty and many, many others. A particular risk that will be highlighted by Stelios’s lawyers in court is the risk of association because of co-branding easyRoommate with some of Mr Pons’ “adult only” classified ads found on “Vivastreet” offering escort services and massages online with explicit photos of the advertisers.
Mr Pons, is likely to be in the witness box on the 14th or 15th November – followed by Stelios around 21st or 22nd November.
Please click here to view the full press release.
10/11/2017 – Daily Mail
10/11/2017 – Telegraph
09/11/2017 – City AM
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Please address all queries to:
Richard Shackleton – Communications Director to Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
easyGroup House, 10 Ansdell Street, Kensington, LONDON W8 5BN
Tel: 05603 678166 (ext 201) Mobile: 07905 779799
See below details of the legal claim
The members of the EASY family of marks (www.easy.com) relied on by easyGroup, and Mr Pons’ signs complained of are set listed below.
This is how one can find the claim in the court system:
Claim No. HC-2015-002009
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE CHANCERY DIVISION (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY) EUROPEAN UNION TRADE MARK COURT BETWEEN:
(incorporated under the laws of Jersey)
– and –
JEAN CAMILLE PONS
Acting for Stelios and easyGroup Ltd
TOM MOODY-STUART QC
Instructed by Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP