Recently Microsoft came up against BSkyB in battle over Microsoft’s use of the name ‘SkyDrive’ in their public cloud storage system. BSkyB brought the case after taking offense to the use of the word ‘sky’ in the naming of the product claiming that the Trademark had been widely used before Microsoft’s service began.
Microsoft fought back in the case stating that ‘sky’ couldn’t be a registered trademark in the area of cloud based storage and also claimed that the word ‘sky’ is “a convenient and common word by traders to describe or allude to a cloud system” and therefore everyday consumers would associate the term ‘sky’ with cloud storage.
Unfortunately for Microsoft Justice Asplin disagreed with Microsoft in the concluding remarks stating that “although I accept that there was no use of the Sky get up or indicia in Skydrive, it seems to me that the evidence revealed confusion amongst real people” and found in favour of BSkyB in this case.
What is next for Microsoft’s Skydrive?
Microsoft does have the right to appeal this case, however if they lose the appeal they may be forced to rename the product as they had to with their Metro Interface in Windows 8. However as the battle is only over the Trademark name not the product itself, Microsoft will not have to remove the product or change it, which is good news for all Windows 8 and Windows Phone users which use Skydrive a lot in the storage and sharing data.
A Sky representative gave a warning to other companies after the ruling was announced, “We remain vigilant in protecting the Sky brand and will continue to take appropriate action against those companies that seek to use our trademarks without consent”. The ruling in this case informs all companies to be careful when using name similar to other companies even if the products are not directly linked as it can cause confusion for consumers who the courts will try to protect.
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