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Court battle: Skype V Sky

by Nicki Dowsett in Industry News

Court battle between Sky and Skype

Court battle between Sky and Skype

Court battle: Skype V Sky

An EU court has recently ruled that the video chat software Skype has a name too similar to Sky and is likely to confuse the public!  Yes that’s right the general public are apparently likely to be confused between Sky TV and Skype.  This judgement prevents Microsoft Skype from registering a trademark of the name Skype along with a bubble design logo.

The Judges of the General Court of European Union said “ Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except that of a cloud, that would further increase the likelihood of the element ‘Sky’ being recognised within the word element Skype’ for clouds are to be found in the sky and thus maybe readily associated with the word Sky.”

In 2014, Microsoft changed the name of it’s cloud storage service from SkyDrive to OneDrive following a High court battle in London, which ruled that Sky’s trademark had been infringed.  So with another battle ensuing between the two corporations this could mean another change.

Microsoft had already launched a challenge to the current case, in 2005, following a complaint by the broadcaster stating that Skype’s branding was too similar to Sky’s to be granted an EU wide trademark.  Following this latest ruling Microsoft have said it will not now face the prospect of another re-brand. “The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark it was only against the registration.  We are confident that no confusion exists between the two brands and types of services offered.  This decision does not require us to alter the product names in any way.”  Microsoft believes that is still had the means to prevent anyone else from tying to call their product Skype.

However, Sky could now continue with the issue and chase Microsoft for a licensing fee even if it did not want to block the use the name Skype.  Their statement said” Sky notes today’s decision from the General Court of the European Union.  This relates to a long running dispute with Skype over the extension of its trademark applications to cover a broad range of good and services that overlap with Sky’s own trademark registration- including but not limited to TV products and services.  It is our intention to protect the Sky brand with our research showing similarities in the name and logo have the potential to confuse customers”

Unless Sky intend to launch a video chat software service in the future, I cannot see how there would be any confusion between the two products.  Not sure what this says about the EU courts expectations of the general population, as they are clearly completely different logos, names and most importantly products.  This appears to be two large corporations trying to show strength in the European market, which does not affect the end user in any way.  As a user of Skype for business (previously Lync) and a Sky TV subscriber I can see the clear difference and would not in any way get confused by the two.  Could you?

If you would like more information on how Skype for Business and OneDrive can support your business, please contact us for a free consultation

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