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Friday, 22 August 2003


London-based The Lawyer magazine reports that easy-magnate Stelios Haji-Ioannou , owner of easyGroup and cut-price airline easyJet, has started a legal battle with veteran broadcaster and TV celebrity Noel Edmonds. Edmonds wants to use the strapline "easymeetings" to promote his videoconferencing company face2face and has applied to register EASYMEETINGS as a trade mark, but Stelios is opposing the application. Stelios doesn't own either 'easy' or 'easymeetings' as trade marks. But, says Bird & Bird IP partner Morag MacDonald, he could still oppose Edmonds' application to register EASYMEETINGS.

Why have Stelios and Edmonds fallen out so spectacularly over the 'easy' name? Edmonds initially developed a videoconferencing business plan with a view to getting Stelios involved. But, following a meeting between the two, Stelios declined. Edmonds wants to retain the 'easymeetings' name in anticipation of easyGroup setting up a rival business using that name.

Edmonds alleges the easyGroup founder also suggested at the meeting that he was interested in starting a similar company on his own: “The meeting with Stelios lasted less than half an hour and none of us really got a word in. Stelios thought it was such a good idea that he might do it without us". John Rothnie, easyGroup head of corporate communications, agreed that easyGroup might want to develop a videoconferencing business of its own. Says Rothnie: “He [Edmonds] came and saw us and asked if they could borrow our brand. Our reaction was, 'Why are you doing this? This is something we could set up anyway'”. Neither side has yet instructed law firms, though Edmonds is reported as having Olswang waiting in the wings.

For Noel Edmonds’ alter ego click here or here
Where can you fly on easyJet? Click here
For easyDisputes involving the easyGroup click here, here, here, here, here, here and here

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