EU Court says people could be confused as Skype’s name is too similar to Sky’s

The judgement prevents Microsoft from registering a trademark for Skype’s name and bubble-design logo.

The US company intends to appeal against the decision.

Judges at the General Court of the European Union 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 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 had brought the case to challenge an earlier ruling by the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation of Internal Markets, which, following a 2005 complaint by the broadcaster, also said Skype branding was too similar to Sky’s to be granted an EU-wide trademark.

This is not the first legal clash between the two companies.

In 2014, Microsoft changed the name of its cloud storage service from SkyDrive to OneDrive after the High Court in London ruled Sky’s trademark had been infringed.

However, a spokeswoman for Microsoft said it was not now facing the prospect of another imminent rebrand.

“The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,” she told BBC News.

“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.”

Microsoft believes it still had the means to prevent anyone else from trying to call their product Skype.

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