Netflix Suffering Turbulent Times

Whats going on here?

EasyJet is suing Netflix for using the title “Easy” in one of their comedy series, violating their trademark.

What does this mean?

The Netflix series, which features a star-studded cast, is based on the lives of eight couples in Chicago. Their relationships are followed in a comedy-drama setting. Although the series makes no reference to the EasyJet airline, EasyJet have claimed the title "Easy" is displayed in the same fashion as the airline's distinct logo. EasyJet, which is part of EasyGroup, has strived to protect its brand by owning over 1,000 trademarks across Europe with the name “Easy”. Netflix has responded to the litigation by remarking that viewers “can tell the difference between a show they watch and a plane they fly in."

Why should firms care?

Licensing out trademarks is a valuable source of income to large companies and the outcome of this case could potentially decrease the potential profit from such a practice if Netflix is not forced to use another title. EasyJet is protective of its brand specifically for this reason as licensing out the prefix “Easy” earns them royalties (a payment received for each time it’s used) and the value of these vary based on the amount the licensee company turns over. If Netflix is allowed to use it, it is likely EasyJet will lose out financially. Guy Wilmot, a partner of the law firm Russell Cooke, also argued that for EasyJet to be successful in their case they would need to state that the use of “Easy” would cause "confusion" or "take unfair advantage of the company's reputation and brands". However, the question remains as to whether this claim will actually take off from the ground? Wilmot raises a strong point that EasyJet may have trouble establishing a copyright infringement if they do not have trademark registration in television and film. That said, Netflix may be in for a bumpy ride.

Report written by Rianna L.

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