Are people really likely to confuse “Skype” with “Sky” (as in Sky TV)? According to an EU court, the answer to that question is “yes”.
The General Court of the European Union has ruled this week that internet communications company Skype’s logo could not be trademarked as it was too close to that of existing media firm Sky TV. The legal dispute between the two firms stretches all the way back to 2005 before Microsoft bought Skype.
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A spokesperson for Microsoft said it will appeal the ruling.
Of note, Microsoft already changed the name of its cloud storage service from SkyDrive to OneDrive back in 2014 after a court in London decreed that Sky’s trademark had been infringed.
Statement from Skype
Sky released a statement following the ruling. “Sky notes today’s decision from the General Court of the European Union,” the statement noted.
The statement continued to say: “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. 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.”
Statement from Microsoft
A spokesperson for Microsoft made it clear the court decision did not mean the firm was facing another imminent rebrand.
“The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,” she explained BBC News in an interview.
“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,” she continued.
She also noted Microsoft believes it still has legal protection preventing anyone else from using the name Skype for their company or product.