easyGroup, owners of easyJet and other businesses, has a long history of going after companies that use the word 'easy' in their names, referring to them as 'brand thieves' for attempting to dupe people into thinking they're somehow related to services operated by easyGroup. Normally you can't complain about that, since trademark infringement is a bad thing that should be stopped. But this time it seems a bit dumb, because it's going after Netflix for releasing a TV series called Easy.
Easy, for those that don't know, is a comedy anthology series that debuted in September 2016. It was followed by a second series last December, with a final third series arriving sometime next year. How is it in any way related to easyGroup? Well it's not, but there are some SHOCKING similarities. For one the title card in the show is ORANGE and the page on Netflix's website has a logo using a similar font to the easyGroup's logo - and lower case to boot. Obviously this is a serious brand infringement by Netflix, who are clearly trying to confuse audiences by making them believe this series has something to do with a company that offers budget air fairs, gym membership, financial services, and so on.
In case it wasn't obvious, that comes with the biggest helping of sarcasm I can muster in written form. Because you'd have to be really quite stupid to get the two things mixed up. Regardless of the font, or the orange.
But easyGroup owner Stelios Haji-Ioannou is insistent, and wants the streaming service to change the name of the series in Europe. Not the whole world, which is certainly not going to confuse some people. He said in a statement:
“This is a case of typically arrogant behaviour by a very large American tech company who never bothered to check what legal rights other companies have outside the US.
When Joe Swanberg came up with the name ‘easy’ for his new TV series a couple of years ago they should have checked with their European lawyers before using it. We own the European trademark in the word easy and another thousand trademarks with easy as a prefix and we can’t allow people to use it now as a brand name, especially when they are doing it mostly with our colours and font.
At least I am pleased that Netflix have said that they will stop at series three anyway. However, we have to stop them from promoting the older series in Europe for online streaming.”
Obviously how dare Joe Swanberg use a common dictionary word for his show! This is almost as dumb as Bragi, the wireless earbud maker, going after OnePlus over Dash Charge - a brand name that OnePlus seems to have stopped using because of other trademark concerns. That said, Netflix's statement on the issue was simple and straight to the point:
“Viewers can tell the difference between a show they watch and a plane they fly in”.
Exactly. [The Guardian]