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Skype name is treading on Sky's toes in Europe, decides court

by Mark Tyson on 6 May 2015, 11:07

Tags: Sky, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacq7v

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Yesterday, at the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg, judges upheld a 2005 ruling that the Skype name and logo sound and look too similar to Sky. The Skype name and bubble logo design were too evocative of Sky, so Microsoft won't be able to register a trademark for Skype's name in Europe.

If the above sounds very familiar then you might be thinking of the court battle between Microsoft and Sky over the SkyDrive cloud storage service brand. In 2014 Microsoft's lost that court battle and set about its global rebrand of the service from SkyDrive to OneDrive. It's hard to know what overall impact this kind of forced rebranding has upon such a business – but of course it isn't desirable.

Despite the ruling yesterday Microsoft isn't yet in a position of having to start rebranding the long-established Skype text, voice and video communications service. A Microsoft spokesperson told the BBC that the company isn't looking at the prospect of another SkyDrive style rebrand. "The case was not a legal challenge to Skype's use of the mark, it was only against the registration," explained the Microsoft employee before asserting "This decision does not require us to alter product names in any way".

On Sky's part the TV entertainment and telecoms business said that it was protecting its brand, identity and trademarks. The overlap of other brands into Sky's territory with similar names, logos and branding needs to be prevented as they have the potential to confuse customers, it said. Going forward it's possible that Sky might ask for a licensing fee or push to try and block the Skype name outright.



HEXUS Forums :: 27 Comments

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good old Murdoch (pretty sure it's still owned by him)…. seriously sky and skype, they look and sound nothing alike, does he (or his cronies) really think we're all that stupid to confuse them… oh wait…he put his newspaper websites behind paywalls and then profits dropped
I think that Sky is far too generic term to be offered such protection…. Not to mention it's been there logo for over a decade, so I would have thought Sky have been to slow to prevent it.

But then trademark law always manages to disappoint me.
Skipe << There fixed
So basically any word with the letters s-k-y in it can no longer be used in Europe because the word “sky” didn't exist before the company Sky invented it. And who is confused, really? Pathetic.
Yesterday, at the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg, judges upheld a 2005 ruling that the Skype name and logo sound and look too similar to Sky.
… only if you're blind, daft or in the pocket of the God-Emperor Murdoch.

Seriously, I honestly can't see how anyone could mistake “Sky” for “Skype”. Are the BBC going to be asked to pull that old detective series “Pie in the Sky”, ELO going to be asked to withdraw “Mr Blue Sky”, etc.

Equally daft, and damn you EU-judges for putting me on the same side as UKIP. :(