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Blog Post

Sky versus Skype: Microsoft Can’t Trademark ‘Skype’ Within Europe

May 8, 2015  /
By admin  /
Category: Branding, logo design

Legal battles are probably Microsoft’s thing. The company has just lost another legal battle against the BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting after a European court found out Skype’s name to be too much similar to the latter’s. The courts also ruled that the cloud-like logo of the service “would further increase the likelihood of the element ‘Sky’ being recognized within the word element ‘Skype.'”

This was the second case lost by Redmond to the same broadcaster in the court years ago, prompting Microsoft to entirely change their its cloud service’s  name from SkyDrive to OneDrive. Fortunately this time, the company doesn’t have to change the name of Skype this time around – it just can’t register a trademark for the product’s name & logo.

Skype chief executive Tony Bates.

An MS spokesperson says, “The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,”

He further added, “We’re confident that no confusion exists between these brands and services and will appeal. This decision does not require us to alter product names in any way.”

In addition to the both cases against Microsoft, BSkyB also drew Livescribe to the court for its Sky smartpens, impelling the company to draw the product out from its UK store. Obviously, any company manufacturing a product having the word “sky” in its brand name may want to consider an alternative before releasing it across Europe.

The origin of the recent case dates back more than a decade to 2004 when Skype was a young startup evolving out of Europe. The company also applied for the Community trademark for its name & distinctive “cloud” logo. Community trademark is a trademark, which is either pending registration, or has been filed for registration on an E.U.-wide level, as opposed nationwide.



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