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article imageMicrosoft told that Skype logo is too similar to Sky's

By James Walker     May 5, 2015 in Technology
An EU court has ruled that Microsoft-owned video messaging software Skype's name and logo is too similar to that of broadcaster Sky, preventing Microsoft from trademarking the Skype branding and allowing Sky to pursue Microsoft for licensing if it wants.
This is not the first time that Sky and Microsoft have been at odds with each other. Microsoft famously had to rename its SkyDrive cloud storage service to OneDrive in 2013 after the UK television company won a case against the Redmond-based software giant.
The General Court of the European Union has today ruled in Sky's favour again, concluding that the Skype logo is similar to that of Sky and that this may cause "confusion" amongst consumers.
Microsoft intends to appeal. The Skype logo uses a different font, character spacing, colours and design to the Sky logo but the EU court said: "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 with the word element 'Skype', for clouds are to be found 'in the sky' and thus may readily be associated with the word 'sky'."
That text appears to focus on the logo and not the name though. Microsoft may be able to get away with changing Skype's logo in order to appease the courts and trademark Skype's properties.
A spokesperson from Microsoft explained to the BBC that no rebranding of Skype is currently being considered. Sky has not brought a specific legal challenge against the company and is instead preventing Microsoft from trademarking the Skype logo and name. Microsoft believes that it can still prevent rival "Skypes" from getting established without the added protection of trademarks.
Sky has been challenging Skype since 2005, before Microsoft owned the service. Microsoft brought the new case to challenge that ruling as it seeks permission to gain trademarks on the Skype logo and name.
More about Microsoft, Skype, Sky, Judge, Court
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