A LADIES-only exercise company with a centre in Lytham is facing a £50,000 bill to rebrand after being threatened with High Court action by European giant EasyGroup.
Easy Exercise, which has centres in South Westby Street, Lytham as well as Northwich and West Bromwich, has reluctantly withdrawn from its year-long battle to keep its name.
The decision comes despite being the company being given an 80 per cent chance of winning its legal fight.
“It’s a risk we would like to take, but one we simply cannot afford,” said managing director Peter Landon, who fears the costs of losing a legal fight to the group owned by billionaire Stelios Haji-Ioannou could be as high at £100,000.
Mr Landon is now preparing to relaunch as Friendly Gyms but added: “The bill we will have to pick up is enormous and will halt our plans to extend our business.
“We already face thousands in legal costs, the loss of our domain name and £50,000 for rebranding as Friendly Gym.”
Lawyers for Greek entrepreneur Stelios, who shot to fame through his easyJet budget airline operation, alleged infringement of intellectual property because EasyGroup claims the rights to the prefix ‘easy’.
They add that easyGym was one of 1,000 trademark registrations and applications his EasyGroup owns worldwide.
Stelios has said he plans to roll out his easy gyms at the rate of 10 sites a year, with the first two in Berkshire and north London.