EasyDate is in trouble with the company giant easyGroup, which owns intellectual property rights to everything from easyJet to easyCar. After five years in business the easyDate chief executive, Bill Dobbie, in a public interview announced a 2 million pound half year profit and then made a comment that he would not be surprised to get a letter from the easyGroup due to the similarity of the EasyDate name. The easyGroup chairman, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, responded and is accusing Dobbie of trademark infringement.
Sir Stelios has announced to the media that Dobbie has already received a letter as of June 29 and has actually responded to it. Sir Stelios said: “Bill Dobbie is aware of our claims and has responded to our letter; for him to suggest otherwise in the media is completely untrue. I am surprised this sort of statement is coming from a listed company.
“EasyDate is taking unfair advantage of the strong reputation of my easy brand in order to obtain an undeserved commercial advantage. Unless EasyDate stops using its brand and domain name, I will take further action to protect the easy name.”
EasyDate has responded that they have used the name for five years with no objection from easyGroup and believes there is “no unfair advantage” to the use of the name EasyDate. An EasyDate spokesman said: “Easydate has worked hard to build its own distinctive brand and reputation and also that of its consumer facing websites. In these circumstances, Easydate does not believe there is any opportunity for consumer confusion.
“Following consultation with the company’s lawyers Easydate believes there is no unfair advantage of using Easydate as the company name. Easydate has offered without prejudice conversation to try and resolve the matter to the mutual benefit of both companies and still awaits a reply.”
Once the announcement of the possible court action was made EasyDate stock share value fell 7p to 104p.
Sir Stelios launched his branding 15 years ago and has registered 1,000 trademarks with the “easy” prefix. Two years ago he took action against an Indian restaurant named EasyCurry and won in court. He stated he felt confident he would win in court against EasyDate and will pursue that they change the name of the holding company.