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Video chat software Skype’s name is so similar to the broadcaster Sky’s that the public could to be confused between the two, an EU court has ruled.
The ruling prevents Microsoft from registering a trademark for Skype’s name and logo. The 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’.”
Sky could now try to pursue Microsoft for a licensing fee even if it did not want to block the use of Skype’s name outright. However, the firm did not directly address this point in a statement released following the ruling.
“Sky notes today’s decision from the General Court of the European Union,” it said.
“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.”