On Tuesday, a European court ruled that Microsoft cannot trademark its internet calling service in the EU as it is too similar to Sky TV.
“Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud,” said the ruling from general court of the European Union in Luxembourg. “[It] would further increase the likelihood of the element `Sky’ being recognized within the word element `Skype’, for clouds are to be found `in the sky’ and thus may readily be associated with the word `sky’.” Microsoft stands by Skype’s name saying, “We’re confident no confusion exists between these brands and services and will appeal. This decision does not require us to alter product names in any way.” While this case was only regarding registration of the trademark, Sky could go after Microsoft and challenge Skype’s use of the mark elsewhere. Skype is currently trademarked in the US.
“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 goods and services that overlap with Sky’s own trademark registrations – including, but not limited to, TV related products and services,” said Sky in a statement on the ruling. “Our intention has been to protect the Sky brand with our research showing that similarities in name and logo have the potential to confuse customers.” In July 2013, Sky took Microsoft to court over SkyDrive and won, forcing Microsoft to rename the cloud-based storage system to OneDrive.