Belfast Telegraph

EasyGroup claims victory as Air China agrees to ditch ‘Easy Way’ branding

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has revealed the national flag carrier will drop the name after lawyers got involved.

EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou has forced Air China to drop its use of ‘Easy Way’, claiming a trademark breach (Chris Radburn/PA)
EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou has forced Air China to drop its use of ‘Easy Way’, claiming a trademark breach (Chris Radburn/PA)

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has claimed victory in a legal battle with China’s national airline over the use of the word “easy” in its advertising.

Air China launched a Beijing-Frankfurt service in May 2017, described as the “Easy Way” to visit Europe for millions of Chinese tourists.

But Sir Stelios took issue with its use, claiming it was a breach of copyright for his EasyGroup of brands.

His company said: “Following a brief exchange of solicitors’ letters, Air China has agreed to stop use of the wording.”

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Air China has agreed to drop its ‘Easy Way’ branding for its Beijing to Frankfurt flight after Sir Stelios got involved (Chris Radburn/PA)

Sir Stelios added: “We have a long-standing and well-publicised policy of pursuing brand thieves in courts in UK, EU courts and beyond. Some brand thieves are small companies that simply fold instead of fighting it out in court.

“So it is reassuring to see a company with the size and standing of Air China accepting the logic and fairness of not using another travel company’s brand.”

Columbian airline Easyfly and Honduran airline Easy Sky have both been hit with similar legal demands last year, and earlier this year Bangladesh-based cargo carrier easyFly agreed to change its name.

Previous litigation over the word “easy” by Sir Stelios has also seen Netflix come under the tycoon’s radar for its TV series Easy, with it facing similar legal action.

Netflix said at the time that it thinks “viewers can tell the difference between a show they watch and a plane they fly (in).”

Sir Stelios launched easyJet in 1995, kickstarting the rise of low-cost air travel. He floated the company five years later, although remains as the largest shareholder with a 34% stake.

He subsequently launched several different companies all with the prefix “easy”, including easyEnergy, easyCar and easyFood.

The easyHotel chain, which is also listed, is currently in the midst of a takeover battle, with Sir Stelios clashing with the board, claiming the £138.7 million bid by Ivanhoe Cambridge and Icamap undervalues the business.

PA

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