EasyJet locked in branding dispute with founder Stelios

EASYJET launched its defence yesterday in front of a High Court judge in a branding dispute brought forward by founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

His lawyers have argued that the airline is no longer a low-cost ­carrier because of the added costs to passengers.

Geoffrey Hobbs QC, who is representing easyJet in court, delivered his opening statements yesterday defen­ding the airline’s position that revenue derived from its core activities includes the collection of fees and charges from baggage, food and ticketing services.

The dispute centres on an agreement made between Haji-Ioannou and easyJet at the time that he ­floated the airline over the distribution of ­revenue.

Haji-Ioannou’s lawyer Michael Bloch QC argued on Monday during his opening statement that as a result of the extra charges easyJet could not be considered a discount carrier.

EasyJet currently faces the possibi­lity of having its orange branding stripped away should the court rule in Haji-Ioannou’s favour.

“This could leave the airline to re-establish its identity in an already crowded market,” said intellectual property lawyer Neil Coulson at Jones Day.

The hearing continues.