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The founder of the budget airline easyJet is set to file a lawsuit against Netflix in a trademark dispute over a series on the streaming service called “Easy.”
“I think this is a case of typically arrogant behavior by a very large American tech company who never bothered to check what legal rights other companies have outside the US,” Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the owner of easyGroup, said in a statement.
According to easyGroup’s legal claim, to be filed “in the next few days,” according to spokesman Richard Shackleton, the London-based company is seeking an injunction to bar Netflix from using the series name in the European Union and to change its name for all future and previously broadcast episodes.
Haji-Ioannou said that, among other things, the logo for the series too closely resembles that of easyJet’s and easyGroup’s logos, spelled with a lowercase “e” and against a bright orange background. The series uses a lowercase, serif typeface for its title. In the premiere episode, the word “easy” was capitalized and sans serif but against a bright orange background.
The series, a half-hour comedy-drama anthology about the lives of mostly hapless Chicagoans, was renewed in August for a third and final season. By phone, Shackleton said easyGroup hadn’t complained to Netflix earlier because it only found out about the series recently — Netflix, he said, hadn’t done its due diligence about the trademark in Europe.
The company licenses its name to a large number of companies, including easyHotel, easyBus, easyVan, easyCoffee, easyStorage, easyFoodstore and easyOffice, and is taking the legal action primarily to prevent its brand name from being diluted, Shackleton said.
“The problem is once you let ‘easy’ go, there’s the danger that people will just start to come in and take the name,” he said. “It’s very unlikely that we’ll be getting into television anytime soon, but there’s a principle at stake. If you want to use the easy name, you have to come and ask us first.”
Earlier this year, easyGroup filed claims against airlines in Honduras and Colombia called Easy Sky and Easyfly, respectively.
Netflix didn’t respond to a request for comment by publication, but earlier said in a statement that Haji-Ioannou’s charges were spurious.
“Viewers can tell the difference between a show they watch and a plane they fly in,” the California-based company said.
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