A European court has found that Skype, the communications system owned by Microsoft, has a name that is confusingly similar to Sky, the broadcaster and service provider.
Microsoft plans to appeal against the decision, but the ruling has been a long time coming, and was presumably not a simple decision to make. The ruling means that the Skype logo, including bubble-like image, cannot be trademarked.
The court was clear on this matter. "Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud," it said, according to a report on the BBC.
"[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 may readily be associated with the word ‘sky'."
Microsoft said it would appeal: “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."
Sky said that this is one part of a dispute with the Microsoft-owned Skype that has gone on for some time.
"This relates to a long-running dispute with Skype over the extension of its trade mark applications to cover a broad range of goods and services that overlap with Sky’s own trade mark registrations (including, but not limited to, TV related products and services).
"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.”
Sky and Microsoft have dealt in this way before, and Microsoft has already renamed its cloud-based storage service SkyDrive as the less confusing OneDrive.
Microsoft agreed to this in 2013 following a court decision, explaining at the time that it was glad to be able to keep serving its millions of users, even if that was to be under a new banner.
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