There was an outcry among fans of indie band Easy Life yesterday after it was revealed it is being sued by easyGroup, the biggest shareholder of easyJet.
The band said easyGroup had issued court proceedings because its name was too similar to another brand in the easyGroup portfolio.
In fact, court documents issued by easyGroup reveal that, as well as taking issue with the name, easyGroup is also seeking a ‘substantial’ amount of money for trademark infringement over merchandise.
This includes a poster used for the band’s 2021-22 Life’s a Beach Tour to promote an album of the same name, which used the image of a plane in the style of easyJet’s orange livery but substituted the easyJet name with the band’s.
EasyGroup also said the band had produced T-shirts bearing its name in the easyGroup branded style and the band’s website infringed its trademark with its similarity to easyJet branding.
The document stated: “By wrongly creating a link with the claimant, the defendant benefits from an association with that positive view and vast brand recognition, regardless of whether the link was intended to be provocative or humorous.”
It said the band was ‘riding on the coat tails of the valuable reputation’ of the company’s brand.
EasyGroup added it was ‘not presently able to estimate the financial value of this claim, but considers that it will be substantial’.
EasyGroup is the private investment vehicle of founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. It licenses the brand to 156 businesses beginning with the word ‘easy’ including ‘easyJet’, ‘easyMusic’ and catalogue retailer ‘Easylife’.
The band’s lead singer Murray Matravers posted on Twitter/X to say: “They’re forcing us to change our name or take up a costly legal battle which we could never afford.
“We’ve worked hard to establish our brand. I’m certain in no way have we ever affected their business.
“Although we find the whole situation hilarious, we are powerless against such a massive corporation.
“For those of you that bought gig tickets and ended up on a budget flight to Tenerife, I apologise.”
In a statement, easyGroup said: “We have a long-established record of legally stopping thieves from using our brands and I am confident we will stop Mr Matravers.”
A spokesperson added: “Stelios and easyGroup founded and now own the right to the easy brand name.
“Other companies, including Easylife [the catalogue company], pay annual royalties for its use as part of their business strategy.
“We cannot allow others to simply use it free, gratis and for nothing. That would be unfair.”