EasyGroup ousts Dentons for Collyer-Bristow on Orange fight

EasyGroup has dumped Denton Wilde Sapte in favour of Collyer-Bristow to fight its corner in its high-profile trade mark dispute with mobile operator Orange

EasyGroup held a beauty parade following the collapse of settlement negotiations, conducted mainly in-house but also involving Dentons’ IP partner John Hull, the firm’s client relationship partner. Hull has since announced his decision to quit for Eversheds.

Dentons was still invited to pitch for the work, along with Collyer-Bristow and Wragge & Co.

The Holborn firm emerged triumphant and partners Clare Algar and Joe Cohen will now lead the Collyer-Bristow team handling the case, working with Richard Arnold QC of 11 New Square and Linsay Lane of 8 New Square.

Algar commented: “There were many, many negotiations. My view, and you won’t be surprised by this, is that the concessions that Orange were asking for were restrictive and more restrictive than they had any right to ask for.”

In August, easyGroup figurehead Stelios Haji-Ioannou issued a conciliatory statement, but talks broke down and two weeks ago Orange issued proceedings. Just last week, easyGroup launched its easyMobile product.

“It is an interesting case because this is an attempt by one trader to monopolise a colour which has been extensively used by another trader for many years,” said Algar.

Willoughby & Co, the former firm of easyGroup general counsel Delia Burnside, is advising Orange. Willoughby partner Shireen Peermohamed is working on the case with John Baldwin QC of 8 New Square.

A Dentons partner said: “We were among a number of firms asked to pitch.”