Test case win against easyGroup may at last bring an end to big boy tactics, says Easybroker

26 June 2003, London: The UK Trademark Registry has issued a landmark ruling against easyGroup and its founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou in their attempts to prevent Easybroker International from using the word ‘easy’ in its trademark. The ruling is expected to make it far harder for easyGroup to bring cases against small companies using the word "easy".

Easybroker, a London-based equity broker founded by Savvas Liasis, began trading in February 1999, but did not apply to register its trademark until 2001, when Haji-Ioannou started legal proceedings to block it.

The initial stage of the legal proceedings went before the UK Trademark Registry on Friday 23rd May, though Easybroker had made attempts to settle the matter amicably. The families of the two companies’ founders are Greek Cypriots and have known each other a long time, making this a personal issue, as well as a business dispute.

Because the previous targets Haji-Ioannou has picked are mostly small companies, they don't have the resources or the appetite to fight easyGroup in the courts, though the World Intellectual Property Organization previously ruled that "easy" is a common word and no company can claim rights over it. This ruling was underlined by the UK High Court, which has informed the easyGroup that it had no rights over the word "easy" and could not prevent anyone from registering a company or domain using the word.

“It has really been a question of bullying," Savvas Liasis, CEO of Easybroker claims. He adds, "Not all of easyGroup's targets have been in the fortunate position of Easybroker in being able to afford to stand up to this. We are pleased by such an unambiguous ruling at such an early stage, and while easyGroup has the option to appeal to the High Court, Easybroker has already put resource into this and has the capacity to continue to do so.”

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