Court of Appeal Upholds Decision on Trademark Infringement and Revocation for Non-Use in EasyGroup Limited v Nuclei Limited & Ors Case

Citation: [2023] EWCA Civ 1247
Judgment on


In the recent judgment of EasyGroup Limited v Nuclei Limited & Ors: EWCA-Civ 2023 1247, the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) upheld the lower court’s decision on various key issues pertaining to trademark infringement and revocation for non-use. The case featured an appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of easyGroup’s claim of infringement of four trade marks associated with the word EASYOFFICE, and the subsequent revocation of these trademarks due to non-use. The Court of Appeal’s reasoning illuminates several important areas of trade mark law, especially in relation to the identity of marks, services, and what constitutes genuine use of a trademark.

Key Facts

The dispute originated from easyGroup, which managed the intellectual property rights related to the “easy” family of businesses and accused Nuclei of infringing its EASYOFFICE trademarks through its use of the EASYOFFICES sign. Nuclei, a member of the IWG group, operates as a broker in the rental of serviced offices.

The case is interlaced with a complex history of entangled services and offerings, pointedly referencing easyGroup’s claim related to the “hire of temporary office space,” the counterclaims for invalidity on the ground of non-use, and instances where both parties had engaged in prior correspondence, negotiation, and litigation.

The judgment revisits critical legal principles concerning trademark infringement under Section 10(1) and (2) of the Trade Marks Act 1994, and revocation for non-use under Section 46(1)(a) and (b) of the same Act. These provisions mirror corresponding Articles in the European Union Trade Mark Regulation.

For infringement under section 10(1), the court requires an identity of both the sign and the registered trademark and the services for which it is used. A key emphasis is placed on the average consumer’s perception and whether the trademark guarantees the origin of the services in question. The court ruled that EASYOFFICES was not identical to EASYOFFICE since it was plural and included an additional syllable and letter.

For infringement under section 10(2), examined was the likelihood of confusion between the sign and the trademark. It was taken into account that despite similar services and near identity of marks, the long-standing side-by-side operation without evidence of actual confusion diminished the likelihood of confusion.

The principle of “honest concurrent use” was also addressed, suggesting that in cases where there is honest and long-standing concurrent use of a sign, this might obviate an infringement claim despite similarities between the sign and the trademark.

Regarding revocation for non-use, the judgment highlights that mere token use does not suffice, and that the use ought to be with the intent to maintain or create market share. For this case, the minimal evidence of usage or promotional activities did not substantiate genuine use.


The appeals court supported the lower court’s finding of no infringement under section 10(1) or section 10(2) of the 1994 Act, with respect to each mentioned trademark. This outcome hinged on the lack of identity, lack of evidence of confusion despite prolonged concurrent trade, and the absence of genuine use to create or maintain market share.

The court also upheld the revocation of the easyGroup trademarks, with effects from the dates specified in the lower court’s order. The decision highlighted the necessity for solid and objective evidence to support genuine use, which was not sufficiently presented by easyGroup.


The EasyGroup Limited v Nuclei Limited & Ors decision is a leading example of the rigorous application of UK and EU trademark law. The careful scrutiny of the identity of marks and services, the assessment of trademark use in the commercial sense, and the recognition of honest concurrent use illustrate the complex interplay of factors in trademark infringement litigation. This comprehensive approach assists in maintaining the balance between protecting trademark rights and embracing fair commercial practices within the UK legal framework.