Another victory for Sir Stelios over brand thieves
A High Court ruling found Achilleas Achilleous was “riding on the coat tails” of easyGroup’s trademarks
A brand thief, Achilleas Achilleous, trading as www.easyliveauction.com, was ordered today to pay easyGroup its legal costs (which amount to around £180,000) after losing the appeal stage of an easyGroup claim against him.
The Court of Appeal had already ordered Achilleous to pay £28,000 in damages for brand infringement. Achilleous was found to have infringed on the intellectual property rights of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s easyGroup by using a logo on www.easyLiveauction.com. The payment of £28,000 by Easy Live (Services) Limited to easyGroup was made on the 14 December 2023, following a High Court judgment handed down on 21 December 2022, in which judge Sir Anthony Mann found easyLiveauction was “free-riding on the coat tails” of easyGroup’s trademarks.
Sir Anthony added that the brand thief co-founder Jonathan Burnside’s decision to change the company logo would “mislead” the public into thinking the two businesses are connected. He said the logo change “sought to create a link with the easyJet family in the mind of the average consumer when he chose to bring his sign closer to the Easy brand sign.”
Subsequently, the Court of Appeal has today ordered Achilleous to pay £100,000 out of the £180,000 of legal costs no later than the 10 January 2024, with the balance of the legal costs to be assessed. The Court of Appeal decided that: “as easyGroup had a well-established business in licensing a wide variety of businesses to use the “easy” branding It follows that easyGroup can rely upon its loss of the fee which it could have charged easy live auction (Achilleous).”
The Court of Appeal agreed with easyGroup’s claim: “that it would significantly reduce its chances of attracting paying licensees, if an unlicensed competitor is permitted to take advantage of its goodwill without paying for that privilege.”
The judgment confirmed that the brand theft happened over nine years from 2010 until 2019 when the brand thief changed their logo away from easyGroup’s get up. The damages accepted by easyGroup, represent approximately 1% of the brand thief’s turnover for the period of nine years.
In response to the judgment, Sir Stelios said:
“It is a fact of life that brand theft is profitable for brand thieves. There will always be opportunists who want to trade off the back of the reputation of another business rather than invest to build their own.
“As easyGroup has extended the easy family of brands to as many as 100 different sub-brands, it is more likely that a brand thief will get away with confusing the consumer that they are a legitimate member of the easy brand family when they are not. I consider it a back handed compliment to our success that brand thieves try to pretend they are part of our easy family.
“Our court victory proves that all we want is, is to uphold the rule of law. We must protect consumers and the legitimate members of the easy family like easyJet.com, easyHotel.com, easyStorage.com and easyLife.co.uk and many others who use the ‘easy’ logo, under licence from easyGroup. It is the collective and exceptional efforts of the easy family members that have turned the easy brand into such a trusted institution. We don’t want them being mistakenly associated with people who like the Judge said, free ride on our coat tails.”
Sir Stelios further noted that the brand thief Achilleous was being defended by David Hansel of Hansel Henson.
“As Achilleas Achilleous has just discovered David Hansel is getting richer while he is getting poorer having to pay damages and legal costs. I believe Hansel has made more than £5m in legal fees by charging brand thieves to argue their cases in court, even advertising on his website to get even more money. “
Please click here to view the final court judgment.
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About easyGroup Ltd
easyGroup Ltd is the creator and owner of the easy family of brands (see www.easyHistory.info) and it cannot allow unauthorised use of the brand.
Over the past 30 years, the easy family of brands have been carefully managed and developed to become the icons they are today. This investment is justifiably protected by easyGroup on behalf of the easy family of brands so that they can continue to enjoy the knowledge, understanding and trust of consumers that the easy brand delivers.
A list of cases brought against brand thieves can be found at https://easy.com/
easyGroup, owned by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has created a steady recurring income stream from the “easy” royalties. As a result, easyGroup donates the majority of its profits to the UK registered charity Stelios Philanthropic Foundation www.stelios.org through which Sir Stelios gives back to society.