The war between British Sky Broadcasting and Microsoft seems far from over with Sky winning another battle against the software giant, this time regarding Microsoft’s subsidiary Skype.
A European Union court has ruled that the video chat software’s name is so similar to the broadcaster Sky’s name that the public is likely to be confused by the two.
This judgement means that Microsoft are currently unable to register a trademark for Skype’s name or bubble-design logo.
On reaching the decision, Judges at the General Court of the European Union has this to say,
“Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps 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 may readily be associated with the word ‘sky’.”
Microsoft has already said that it plans to challenge the decision, which is unsurprising given the $8.5 billion they paid for the software back in 2011.
The case was actually filed by Microsoft to challenge a 2005 ruling on the same subject, long before Microsoft took ownership of Skype.
This court case is the latest in a long line of feuds between the two companies, one of their most high-profile battles in 2014 resulted in another win for Sky, leaving Microsoft to rebrand their cloud drive “OneDrive”, originally named “SkyDrive”.
Unlike that case though, we are unlikely to see an immediate rebrand according to a Microsoft spokeswoman who recently spoke to the BBC.
“The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,”
“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.”
Sky now has the option to try and pursue a licencing fee from Microsoft for the use of the Skype name, though how successful that would be will depend on Microsoft’s appeal process.
Sky are yet to confirm whether that is their plan moving forward.