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Microsoft loses ‘SkyDrive’ name in Europe to BSkyB

Submitted by Craig Agranoff on Monday, 1 July 2013 No Comment

Pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB in Europe, which is partially owned by News Corp, has won a case against Microsoft for rights to the name “Sky” for technology in Europe, which means that Microsoft’s SkyDrive service cannot be called that there.

A further hearing to determine damages, if any, and whether a cease order for using the name will be issued has yet to be scheduled, but both recompense and a cease order may be forthcoming, shutting down Microsoft’s use of SkyDrive. The hearing could also result in an appeal if the British judge finds there is merit for one.

The case began in 2011 when Microsoft began marketing SkyDrive in Europe. BSkyB has a trademark in England and Europe for the term “Sky” in technology and took the Redmond, Washington tech giant to court over the use of the term. This resulted in an eight-day trial that finished in April and the judgement rendered Friday.

Although BSkyB is a pay-TV service, they also sell digital products to their consumers, which are stored in a cloud, along with mobile apps and an online content streaming. Until 2011, the company also provided an online storage service.

Microsoft’s counter-argument against the claim was to invalidate the trademark’s use for cloud services, pointing out that BSkyB never used the term “sky” to describe its cloud-based services and that the MS services for cloud storage are nothing like products that BSkyB offers currently.

It’s very likely that an appeal will be forthcoming.

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