Microsoft Banned From Registering Skype Trademark
The second trademark loss follows submissions by European satellite broadcaster Sky, in an EU court.
The ruling declared that the Skype name is too similar to Sky’s own trademark, and therefore could easily confuse consumers signing up for the service, expecting something produced by the broadcaster.
The case was brought to the General Court of the European Union because of an earlier ruling against Microsoft by the European Union’s Office for Harmonization of Internal Markets, reports the BBC, with it too siding with Sky and refusing Skype an EU-wide trademark.
Judges at the General Court clarified the ruling, stating that the word Sky “conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud. That 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 associated with the word Sky”
The first time Microsoft endured a trademark dispute from Sky was over SkyDrive, its cloud storage service. A ruling forced the service’s name to be changed, with Microsoft relaunching it as OneDrive. Unlike the earlier ruling, Microsoft does not have to change the Skype brand, but it cannot register its trademark or logo. “The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,” a Microsoft representative told the report, before claiming the company will appeal the decision.
Microsoft agreed to buy the internet phone company Skype Technologies for $US8.5 billion in cash back in 20111 in what was described as the most aggressive move yet by Microsoft to play in the increasingly converged worlds of communication, information and entertainment.
The deal will let Microsoft “be more ambitious, do more things,” chief executive Steve Ballmer said in an interview.
The software giant was motivated to acquire Skype because communication technologies have been “the backbone” of Microsoft’s growth in recent years and that Skype has “built a real business” in the communications field, said Mr Ballmer.