EasyGroup Attacks Crowdsourced Delivery Startup Easybring

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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London-based parent of EasyJet claims the crowdsourced delivery service infringes on its trademarks

The international launch of the crowdsourced delivery service Easybring could be in trouble due to a trademark dispute.

The Norwegian start-up has been threatened with a lawsuit by easyGroup, the parent company of EasyJet, which claims the name sounds too similar to the names of its well-known brands. Similar complaints were previously made by Norway Post, operator of the business delivery service called ‘Bring’.

Both organisations want Easybring to change its name, and the start-up is currently “contemplating its response”. The UK beta test of the service has already started.

Collaborative economy

The Easybring business model is all about matching delivery needs with spare capacity. Here’s how it works: if you’re driving, cycling or taking a bus or train somewhere, advertise your route on Easybring. If you are selected to take a package with you, it can pay for your fuel or ticket, and even earn a bit of money on top.Minerva Studio

Norway´s Patentstyret (Norwegian Industrial Property Office) has already registered the company name, and the service is proving popular with leading e-commerce providers in its home market.

However, an international launch could be derailed by accusations of trademark infringement.

EasyGroup has recently filed a complaint, in which it says the name can be confused with its trademarks including EasyJet, EasyBus and EasyGym. It has asked the Patentstyret to revoke Easybring trademark registration. Norway Post previously filed a similar complaint, claiming the ownership of the verb “bring”.

“The easyGroup takes its rights and responsibilities for the ‘easy’ name very seriously,” said a spokesman for easyGroup chairman Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. “We will protect our business partners who have made a legitimate financial investment in the brand as part of their commercial strategy. It is simply unacceptable and unfair for others to use it as they please – free, gratis and for nothing.

“The ‘easy name’ is synonymous with quality, value for money services and we also have a duty to protect the public from its unauthorised use.”

“Trying to compare our matching platform for deliveries and transport with that of Norway Post and other companies that share parts of our name is nonsensical,” countered Easybring CEO Ari Kestin. “We are confident that we are not infringing on the rights of others. The question for Easybring is if it should use its limited resources on building great solutions that people want, or use them to fend off state owned monopolies and entities that seek to hijack ordinary words.

“With a community of around 15,000 sign ups in Norway alone and a beta version already available in the UK and Sweden, Easybring plans an international launch of its service during 2014.”

TechWeekEurope had a chat with former EasyBring CEO Erland Bakke six months ago, at the LeWeb 2013 conference in London. You can watch the interview here.

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