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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 18:45 GMT 19:45 UK
Sir Stelios drops trademark case
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Sir Stelios said his company was simply protecting its lawful rights
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou's Easygroup company has dropped legal action against the owner of a London takeaway firm over the use of the word "easy".

Easygroup issued High Court proceedings against Karl Khan over trademark infringement after offering to buy his domain name easypizza.co.uk in 2003.

Mr Khan's business had been using the name since 1997 but Sir Stelios launched his Easypizza company in 2004.

Easypizza operates in towns and cities across East and West Sussex.

It also operates in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire and Fareham, Hampshire.

We knew we were in the right, we'd had the name for longer and had no intention to copy them or anything about them
Karl Khan, owner of Easypizza

Easygroup said it had settled the case with Mr Khan out of court when it discovered his business had been in operation for longer than it had originally thought.

The company added that it was not paying for all of Mr Khan's costs.

Mr Khan, whose north London business serves customers in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringay and Islington, said: "What they objected to was the use of the word "easy" but there's hundreds, if not thousands, of companies which also use the word."

He said the last year had been an "absolute nightmare" and he had been forced to take out personal loans and re-mortgage his house to fund the legal battle.

'Legitimate rights'

"We knew we were in the right, we'd had the name for longer and had no intention to copy them or anything about them," he said.

After the case was settled, Mr Khan accused Easygroup of attempting to use "brinkmanship" to force him into giving up the name.

Sir Stelios, founder of Easygroup, said his company did not bully people but simply wanted to protect its lawful rights.

"The fact that we decided that Mr Khan has certain legitimate rights to the name in a very limited area of London is proof that we do act reasonably and responsibly," he said.

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