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Skype is too similar to Sky says EU court

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Skype logo

An EU court has ruled that Skype's name and logo is too similar to that of broadcaster Sky's.

According to the court's findings, the public is likely to be confused between the two distinct brands and services.

"Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud," said judges at the General Court of the European Union.

The court added that this "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'."

This will be a major blow for Microsoft, the owner of Skype, which was challenging the findings of an earlier ruling.

Indeed, Microsoft will be sick of the sight of the broadcaster. The two companies fell into conflict over a similar dispute concerning Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage service. The outcome of that case was similar to this one, with Microsoft forced to change the name of its service to OneDrive.

In this case, however, Microsoft doesn't believe that it will have to rebrand Skype. The ruling simply means that Microsoft cannot register a trademark for the Skype name and bubble-design logo.

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"The case was not a legal challenge to Skype's use of the mark, it was only against the registration," a Microsoft spokesperson told the BBC.

"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."

The question is whether Sky will now demand licensing fee from Microsoft for continued use of the Skype brand.

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