Indie Music

It’s a Hard Life for band changing their name after objection from easyGroup

It may not have the magnitude of Prince changing his name to a symbol, but the band Easy Life have changed their name to Hard Life after the threat of legal action from easyJet’s parent company.

The British indie band said easyGroup had filed a lawsuit claiming their name infringed on a trademark last year. They added they did not have the funds to defend the high court lawsuit so would be forced to change their name.

On Tuesday, they announced they had officially become Hard Life as they released their new single, Tears, in which they reference having to “lawyer up”.

In a post on Instagram, the band, originally from Leicester, said it was “safe to say the last nine months haven’t been easy”.

The band’s frontman, Murray Matravers, told the BBC that they had “unanimously” come up with the name after feeling “angry and powerless” about the legal action.

“We didn’t get into music to fight huge corporations in legal battles, obviously,” he said. “We felt angry and powerless. But if our name affects them that much, I’ll walk away from it – because it’s not worth it.”

He added: “I’m a white, middle-class man from England – it’s not to say I’ve had a particularly hard life either.

“It was more just, in response to what had happened, Hard Life felt like the obvious thing. It’s a great name – I’m really happy with it.”

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the owner of easyGroup, said Matravers had “intentionally used easyGroup’s well-known stylisation and images of easyJet planes in his marketing”.

“Not only does this take unfair advantage of easyGroup’s brand but it can also damage it,” he said.

He cited a band poster that depicted a plane in easyJet’s orange livery with the name Easy Life replacing the airline name, and a band T-shirt that used easyGroup branding, such as colour and font, as examples of trademark breaches.

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Haji-Ioannou said his company was “not attempting to stop people from using the word easy in its ordinary meaning” but was “taking action to prevent the word easy being conjoined with another in order to generate sales and profit”.

EasyGroup has launched dozens of legal challenges against companies using the word “easy” in their name or branding in recent years, and charges royalties for businesses to use the easy brand conjoined with another word.

This month, a long-running dispute between easyGroup and Easyfundraising, a UK-based shopping site that helps users raise money for causes through cashback, will reach court.

In a statement, easyGroup said: “EasyGroup Ltd has reached resolution with Mr Matravers and the other band members of Easy Life. The band has already announced that it will be changing its name and it will pass all of its rights in the EASY LIFE name, along with the easylifemusic domain name, to easyGroup Ltd.”

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