0.2: Take it Easy
THIS WEEK: An easy fight, the FTC takes on Amazon in an monopoly showdown, and the music stops in a new class action against the Electric Zoo Festival.
At least this one is easy to explain: EasyGroup, Ltd. (owner of EasyJet) is going after Premier Inn over the use of “easy” in a slogan1.
How’d we get here (not by plane obviously)? Well, back in April of 2021, Premier launched a new campaign called Rest Easy This campaign came on the heels of the COVID-19 lockdowns and was a rebrand to follow the re-launch of their operations.
Unfortunately, Premier can’t rest easy using that phrase. So while Premier owns the mark for “rest easy”, EasyGroup, the parent company of EasyJets and easyHotels, owns the “easy” mark.
Needless to say, EasyGroup was not thrilled with the association between the two brands, going as far as to say that Premier was effectively cashing in on the similarities to the Easy family of companies. So, EasyGroup made an easy decision and filed an action against Premier, seeking damages, an injunction, and an invalidation of the “rest easy” mark.
This isn’t the first time EasyGroup has led the charge over the easy marks:
When it comes to potential trademark infringement, it’s an easy choice for EasyGroup.
Let’s Play Monopoly
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. That’s right, the FTC and 17 attorney generals2 are done playing Monopoly with Amazon. Earlier this week, Amazon was sued for effectively controlling the online retail space and using “a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power.”
So what is Amazon allegedly doing? According to the FTC:
Anti-discounting measures that punish sellers and deter other online retailers from offering prices lower than Amazon, keeping prices higher for products across the internet.
Conditioning sellers’ ability to obtain “Prime” eligibility for their products—a virtual necessity for doing business on Amazon—on sellers using Amazon’s costly fulfillment service, which has made it substantially more expensive for sellers on Amazon to also offer their products on other platforms.
Degrading the customer experience by replacing relevant, organic search results with paid advertisements—and deliberately increasing junk ads that worsen search quality and frustrate both shoppers seeking products and sellers who are promised a return on their advertising purchase.
Biasing Amazon’s search results to preference Amazon’s own products over ones that Amazon knows are of better quality.
Charging costly fees on the hundreds of thousands of sellers that currently have no choice but to rely on Amazon to stay in business.
While Amazon is a formidable opponent, so is FTC Chair Lina Khan, who has spent years preparing for this showdown. In fact, while in law school, Chair Khan argued that the current antitrust laws don't do enough to police big tech companies, with Amazon as the center of her thesis.
Just like Monopoly, this one will likely take some time to play out. Stay tuned.
An Electric Nightmare
Electric Zoo Festival gained VIP access to the courthouse this month after being sued in a class action by multiple attendees. Not familiar with the festival? In short, EDM on Randall Island in New York.
According to the complaint, Electric Zoo dropped the ball when it came to sanitation, wiring and certain safety hazards, water, logistics, and security.
The plaintiffs paint a chaotic picture:
We’re a bit early to the party on this one, so we’ll monitor and let you know when it the best act hits the mainstage.
A few 0.1’s
Bill This to Me
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Did not have a copy of the actual action at the time of writing this. If you’re looking for it, Claim No.: IL-2023-000155; Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales.
New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.