easyGroup v Beauty Perfectionists [2024] EWHC 1441 (Ch)

13 June 2024

James Abrahams KC and Maxwell Keay represented the successful defendants (“Beauty Perfectionists”) in trade mark infringement proceedings brought by the claimant (“easyGroup”), regarding Beauty Perfectionists’ use of versions of the sign “easyCOSMETIC” in relation to its online cosmetics business.

easyGroup relied on two marks for the word “EASYJET”, registered for various goods and services including, in the case of one of the marks, retail services connected with the sale of cosmetics, perfumes and fragrances. easyGroup’s pleaded case included further registrations for, inter alia, easyCar, easyBus and easyProperty, but these were abandoned in opening submissions. Notwithstanding, easyGroup relied on these marks as forming part of a “family of brands”, which it said strengthened elements of its infringement case on the two asserted marks.

Bacon J found Beauty Perfectionists’ signs did not infringe easyGroup’s marks, either on the basis that there was a likelihood of confusion, or that the signs took unfair advantage of the repute of easyGroup’s marks, or were detrimental to their distinctive character. She held that the shared features of the family of brands were ‘camel case’ lettering, the colour Pantone 021c (a shade of orange) and the font Cooper Black, which differed from Beauty Perfectionists’ signs. Further, the absence of any evidence of actual consumer confusion, despite  over 15 years of substantial side-by-side trading, supported an inference that confusion was unlikely. In addition, she partially revoked the scope of easyGroup’s mark, so that it only covered “in-flight retail services” in respect of the asserted goods.

As the claim was issued prior to IP completion day, the court was able to sit as an EU trade mark court. This is likely to be one of the last such occasions.

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