8 July 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

EasyJet owner wins TM invalidation at UKIPO

EasyGroup, which owns brands including British-based airline easyJet, has succeeded in having a trademark invalidated at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

In its decision, issued on Thursday, July 4, the IPO ruled that Cypriot company Netlab International’s ‘’ mark was likely to cause confusion among consumers.

EasyGroup has previously been active in trademark opposition actions against companies, including Netflix, using the word “easy”.

In January 2018, WIPR  reported that easyGroup had lost a trademark lawsuit against flat-sharing website EasyRoomate at the English High Court., the target of the latest invalidation action, is a digital marketplace selling “digital items generated by blockchain technology” for use in video games, according to the website.

Netlab, which owns the site, applied to register the UK mark in October 2017 in class 41 covering entertainment services.

EasyGroup filed an opposition to the mark in April 2018, citing its “”, “EasyJet”, and “Ezeegym” marks, all of which cover goods and services in class 41.

According to EasyGroup, its “EasyJet” mark enjoys a high level of distinctiveness through use. Consumers were also likely to associate the “” mark with EasyJet’s airline code EZY, the British company argued.

The IPO examiner found that consumers were likely to confuse “” and Netlab’s mark owing to the possibility of imperfect recollection.

“Even if the stylistic differences were noticed, the consumer could still imperfectly recall the words and perceive the mark as denoting the same, or a related, undertaking,” the IPO said.

“It would not be uncommon for a business to change stylistic aspects of its mark in a rebranding exercise,” the examiner added.

While EasyGroup’s invalidation action “succeeded fully on the basis of the ‘’ mark,” the IPO rejected the British company’s arguments with respect to the “EasyJet” and “Ezeegym” marks.

These marks and Netlab’s had a low level of similarity, the IPO concluded. EasyGroup also failed to demonstrate a high level of distinctiveness through use for the “easyJet” mark with respect to entertainment services, the decision said.

The IPO was also unpersuaded by EasyGroup’s argument that consumers would associate the “” mark with easyJet’s EZY flight code.

The IPO awarded costs of £1,050 ($1,316) to easyGroup.

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