Easygroup Ltd v (1) Easyfly SA (2) Alfonso Avila Velandia and (3) Gie Avions de Transport Regional [2020] EWHC 40 (Ch)

14 January 2020

Jaani Riordan appeared as Junior Counsel for the proposed Third Defendant (“ATR”), a subsidiary of Airbus, in this opposition to joinder.

EasyGroup brought a claim alleging trade mark infringement, passing off and unlawful means conspiracy against the First Defendant, a Colombian airline providing domestic flights in Colombia under the name EASYFLY, and related claims against the Second Defendant, who was the president of the Colombian airline.

The Claimant had previously been granted permission to serve the First and Second Defendants out of the jurisdiction. The First and Second Defendants applied to set aside service. Subsequently, EasyGroup applied for retrospective validation of service if there was any defect in service, and for ATR (a French aircraft manufacturer) to be joined. EasyGroup alleged that ATR had infringed its trade marks by (1) manufacturing turboprop aircraft intended for use by the First Defendant at its facility in Toulouse, in the course of which it applied the sign EASYFLY to the aircraft, and (2) publishing a press release at a UK air show which announced the supply of planes for use by the First Defendant.The court dismissed the application to join ATR and accepted ATR’s argument that the court did not have jurisdiction under the EU Trade Mark Regulation to hear claims relating to activities occurring in France, and any claim in relation to the press release was so small that it would be an abuse of process to permit it to proceed. Moreover, because service upon the existing Defendants was set aside, there were no proceedings to which ATR could be joined.

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