EasyRoommate is a flat sharing digital platform that was founded by entrepreneur, Jean Pons, in 1999. By 2003, the company had become the largest flat sharing online company with approximately 40,000 registered users, and by 2007, had received more that 57 million page views.
In 2009, the trade mark EasyRoommate was registered by the parent company W3, for database management, real estate affairs and accommodation services. In contrast, easyGroup, the company part owned by Stelios Haji-Ionnou of easyJet fame, have held the trade mark for the word mark, "Easy", since November 2000.
W3, the parent company of EasyRoommate, received allegations of trade mark infringement from the easyGroup in 2011 on the grounds that "Any use of the word 'easy' followed by a word which denotes the services of goods being offered by a third party is likely to be seen by members of the public as being a new venture under licence from easyGroup."
In contrast, W3 say that they had started their flat-sharing service in 1999 and registered the easyroommate.co.uk internet address in 2002, whereas the easyGroup were incorporated in 2000, a year after the EasyRoommate service had been in operation.
Subsequently, W3 is reportedly seeking an injunction to prevent easyGroup, from making groundless threats in relation to an alleged trade mark infringement of the mark "Easy" and is also seeking damages of £100,000.
In response to the above, Stelios has said that "We are very confident we will win in court."Posted by: in: Case Law, News, Trade Marks