Microsoft faces new brand dispute over OneDrive name

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced its plans to relaunch SkyDrive under the new 'OneDrive' brand. The move came after the company faced a dispute with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB, trading as 'Sky'), which argued that Microsoft's SkyDrive brand infringed on its own trademark. 

But it seems that Microsoft may be facing a further dispute over its new OneDrive branding. Neowin has been in contact with Thomas Medard Frederiksen, chief operating officer of One.com, who says that his company is now "consulting trademark experts" following Microsoft's rebranding, stating that OneDrive is "a name that is very close to One.com's own cloud service." 

One.com has offered cloud storage solutions under the 'Cloud Drive' moniker for the last three years, allowing customers to synchronise their files to their online storage. One.com says that "OneDrive, from Microsoft, is a similar product - with a similar name, that will lead to confusion." 

Frederiksen told Neowin: "It was a big surprise to me that Microsoft have decided to name their cloud service OneDrive. For me, it's important to protect our brand company name." 

He added that he "would have expected that Microsoft would have done more thorough research, before releasing their new name. They are after all one of the big players in the market." 

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Unbelievable! Pretty soon the entire English language will be trademarked by some organization. Frankly the names SkyDrive or OneDrive are just fine.

OneNote has been used as a name by Microsoft for years now. I don't think these folks have much of a case considering they didn't take action against MS for OneNote.

I guess this might be different because OneDrive will offer similar services to One, but still. This is getting out of hand IMO.

You shouldn't be able to trademark a word that already exists in the English language from year dot.

If you create a new word or combine them, sure...but 'Sky'...or 'One'. Ridiculous.

What ever became of the lawsuit against Microsoft about the use of the name Vista? I think there was a company in Washington that had copyright on the name Vista and I believed they sued Microsoft.

Were they in the OS business too? Because right next to where I work there's a window blinds company that uses the same name.

Not surprising at all. In fact, I believe that any brand name they chose, would lead to a legal dispute. They are that big.

Doesn't MS own the Cloud trademark from all their commercials back in the day? Maybe they should just flip it around and take Cloud Drive from one.com and amazon.

Skydrive is usually installed within Live Essential, so why not call it LiveDrive or EssentialDrive. But I guess that would be too easy.

Microsoft really does have the worst executives in the world. No wonder they are having a difficult time recruiting a new CEO.

Melfster said,
Microsoft really does have the worst executives in the world. No wonder they are having a difficult time recruiting a new CEO.

no, this is just stupid now.
a company cannot trademark 'one.' it's far too generic and broad, just like sky.

I don't think one has anything to do with the other (no pun intended).

Microsoft can't help it if every company out there trademarks a word and then asks for compensation when you decide to use it in a product name. OneDrive is not One.com - and One.com needs to just get over it. I too think it's more of a publicity stunt. Before today, I would have thought nothing of one.com - and if someone asked would have actually already assumed Microsoft owned it (technically OneNote existed before One.com).

As far as finding a new CEO - with a company like Microsoft, where it's global and has huge revenues - you take as long as you need to make the right choice. 3-months, a year, whatever it takes. I think the fact that Bill Gates is hanging around, as is Ballmer I think, for a little while helps buy them time. The fact that it's taking so long could be a good thing in that maybe they have a few very good candidates to pick from. Maybe wishful thinking, but I don't think Microsoft is worried, and no one else should be either.

Lastly - I would gladly work for those worst executives in the world if they can post almost $25 billion dollars in revenue for a quarter.

Tarrant64 said,
I don't think one has anything to do with the other (no pun intended).

Lastly - I would gladly work for those worst executives in the world if they can post almost $25 billion dollars in revenue for a quarter.


I gladly agree with you

aviator189 said,

no, this is just stupid now.
a company cannot trademark 'one.' it's far too generic and broad, just like sky.

Generic words are only trademarked in their field of work.
Windows is trademarked. But if I call a chair "Windows", Microsoft can't touch me no matter how hard they try.

Looks like a genuine concern to me. They are after all only talking to trade mark experts about his and as yet don't appear to have approached Microsoft. Just because they are a small company doesn't mean they have any less right to protect their services as the big ones do.

To be honest though, I expect this is all just a storm in a tea cup.

One.com should be taken to the wood shed on this... One.com can in some way be confused with Onedrive.com. I say they move the one.com domain name to Microsoft just for their stupidity.

go troll somewhere else.

Since the foundation of One.com (B-one) in 2002 by Jacob Jensen, One.com has experienced constant growth and has today more than 1,000,000 customers in 149 countries.

Microsoft doesn't have a case here, they are on the losing side and if anything, they could be the ones being forced to turn in the onedrive.com domain.

This is a load of crap with king.com owning the word candy and bskyb trademarking the word sky. I am going to trademark the word AIR and who ever says air will have to pay me money. HAHAHAHAHA hell I am going to go after nike air. This is stupid is gonna have to stop soon. enough with the childish bull load of C. I bet this company owner are the kids in high school who licked others people food so you wouldn't eat it and now they are all grown up and are licking One, sky and candy so others can't use it.

BULLIES.

Microsoft has caved in too many times and now people see an easy target. I hope Microsoft will fight this one. I mean, c'mon!!

And up until now, I hadn't heard of one.com, so I don't think a lot of people will be confused by the name.

One.com is just doing this for publicity. Nobody has ever heard of them so they're trying to get themselves in the news by causing trouble.

redvamp128 said,
Next name... "Microsoft Drive" and let us see if there are any complaints

Just you wait, someone will start to take issue with the word "drive" at that point.

Nogib said,

Just you wait, someone will start to take issue with the word "drive" at that point.


just don't name it Candy Drive or Microsoft Drive Saga and you will be fine.

When i see these kind of lawsuits it makes me wonder how many clicks have they generated to their website just because of all the lawsuit news now. I clicked on it to see what they were because i had never heard of them before. Sometimes i get the feeling advertising is the main motive for this crap.

This is the problem that a lot of Microsoft processes face. They stop thinking about something on the US Boarder. Same with Metro, Same with Sky, and the newest example one.com

Frederiksen told Neowin: "It was a big surprise to me that Microsoft have decided to name their cloud service OneDrive. For me, it's important to protect our brand company name."

Surprised that someone used a dictionary based word for their product, just like yourself for your company name?
These trademarks/patents are getting beyond a joke now.

Skwerl said,
Actually, I think they have more of a legitimate claim than BSkyB did.

How?

In the UK most (if not almost all) people affiliate anything with "Sky" in the name to BSkyB.

However, "One's Cloud Drive" has a stronger point against "Microsoft's OneDrive"?
Amazon calls their cloud "Cloud Drive".... I think there's much more issues there.

RommelS said,
Just use the Microsoft Azure beta project name "kumo."

I don't understand why they don't use more of their Beta Names... Some of them are good...

RommelS said,
Just use the Microsoft Azure beta project name "kumo."
Has no word association with cloud storage, but maybe they'll be eventually forced to do this. Sure no company in Hawaii or somewhere has that name trademarked?

Romero said,
Has no word association with cloud storage, but maybe they'll be eventually forced to do this. Sure no company in Hawaii or somewhere has that name trademarked?

Kumo = Cloud in Japanese.

RommelS said,
Kumo = Cloud in Japanese.
Thanks, didn't care enough to go look it up and it sound vaguely Hawaiian. Ok, so Japanese companies have to be checked I guess.

Edit: Now that I did look it up, I'm pretty sure the Bing guys chose "Kumo" because it (also?) means Spider in Japanese. That makes much more sense for a search engine compared to Cloud. Of course if it means Cloud too then it's kinda fortuitous and they could use it in place of SkyDrive, but I don't think it's a great idea because English words are likely to be familiar world over and thus selected for a reason.

You would think MS could do enough research to avoid things like this.

And One.com is only consulting experts to see if there is any problem with MS' name. Like any good company would do. No suits have been brought to MS.

I think Amazon should also consult some experts to see if they can sue One.com for using the Cloud Drive name. Let's have a lawsuit merry-go-round!

As far as I know BSkyB sued MS for 'SkyDrive' on the grounds that some of their 'less technologically minded' customers had linked SkyDrive to their 'Sky' trading name. Microsoft, being more grown up than Apple or Samsung, decided it best to leave it there and agree to change the name rather than getting involved in years of lawsuits and expenses claims... I wish they hadn't though... SkyDrive has a nice ring, OneDrive does not. I would be pleased if they have to change it again! I think if they really cannot use SkyDrive then they should just call it 'Microsoft Drive'... oops, Google have that one! How about CloudDrive or something then??? Tbh tho, all of the sync/cloud services have 'cloud' or 'sky' or 'drive' or something associated with them.

Ilmiont said,
How about CloudDrive or something then???
Are you serious? One.com is complaining about OneDrive, and you want SkyDrive to be renamed to CloudDrive which is exactly what One.com's product is called?

I agree with you though - this naming business is crazy, especially in the cloud storage business. Looks like it's far easier to start such a business than come up with a unique name!

Exactly, it's total BS. There's no name MS could have come up with that isn't being used by someone these days. Cloud storage, hard drives, these are generic terms. Trademark law has gone mad.

"Today, One.com has more than 150 employees, a healthy, strong financial position and is fully geared to meeting the potentials and challenges of the future."

If things don't go Microsoft's way they should just buy One.com!

Just call it Microsoft Drive, though i'm sure someone, somewhere will sue for the use of the words "Micro" and "Soft"......

Microsoft didn't fight Sky because it's a content provider that Microsoft may want to do business with down the road. This new company, One, is probably really small (I mean, has anyone ever heard of it), and so Microsoft will likely fight them for it... spending the other company into bankruptcy and/or until they agree to sell the name to Microsoft.

One.com is active in 149 countries and has over 1 million users and is prety much known in the web industry. Anyway, One.com isn't making a point here.

Funny, I never heard of one.com until this post. Besides, Microsoft should just call their cloud MS Drive, or WinDrive. and be done with it.

They didn't want to fight Sky as they want Sky on board with the Xbox One's content side (tv integration), if they did I think they would have had a good case. One.com will fail here I think, its far too generic and the name of their cloud solution doesn't use the name 'one' at all.

And yet Sky still has no Sky Go or Sky+ apps on the Windows store or on Windows Phone... Apple and Android are obviously fully catered for.

duddit2 said,
the name of their cloud solution doesn't use the name 'one' at all.
I wanted to say the exact same thing too. Why didn't One.com call their own cloud product OneDrive? They don't use the word in their own product name and yet object to someone else using it? You know what, this is right up there on par with the Candy Crush trademark abuse saga.

This is about as bad as trying to come up with a character name on an MMO.

Here's hoping we get some X's before and after whatever name they go with.

Otto Gunter said,
"Name it OneDrive Professional Plus Cloud Storage."

This lame joke is getting stale. Correct that, is stale. Enough already, spare us.


I agree. Needs "Essentials" in there if he hopes to get a laugh or two.

Really!! First Metro which was a wonderful Name for the UI then Skydrive which went unchallenged for years also a great name now onedrive!! why can't people just deal with it this is absolutely ridiculous they seem to wait until it's an established brand before suing smh...

Devmer11 said,
in regards to BskyB skydrive goes back to 2008 why did it all of a sudden become an issue now??

Because the SkyDrive brand is now worth a lot more than it was in 2008, as a result they can claim a lot more money in damages.

Devmer11 said,

in regards to BskyB skydrive goes back to 2008


As I recall, it was officially launched in August 2007 as Windows Live SkyDrive, after a limited beta.

To be honest i don't think this situation is in the least bit funny. Sky were really reaching in my opinion and this whole situation is unfortunate.

Microdrive (MD) is a brand name for a miniature, 1-inch hard disk designed to fit in a CompactFlash (CF) Type II slot.
The brand name was created by IBM and is now owned by Hitachi since they bought out IBM's hard drive business, and has been licensed for use by companies such as Sony - that's what's wrong with using Microdrive already...

Skwerl said,
Not to mention, "Microdrive" sounds awfully small, and that's probably not the image you want to convey.

Ye cause Micro-soft doesn't sound awfully small and on top of that related to genitalia

I actually miss Live Mesh. By the way, it was due to internal politics (Live Mesh team and SkyDrive team were duking it out), and SkyDrive won the political fight..so Live Mesh was cancelled. (Source: I was in the meeting with at least 80 other developers/leads/managers...the shouting match between team leaders were quite heated)

I wouldn't mind for LiveDrive or MeshDrive

Haha, that is funny. I always wondered why Live Mesh shut down. I used to use this all the time. The RDP/VPN feature on it actually worked better for me than LogMeIn... And a bunch of my colleagues used it too.
But Skydrive works great, or Onedrive? or.......

Skwerl said,
Not to mention, "Microdrive" sounds awfully small, and that's probably not the image you want to convey.

Sounds more appropriate for a brand of very small USB Flash Drive than cloud storage to me (After all Thumbdrive is a brand, not the product's actual name for example). Regardless of the other unfortunate childish connotations with it.

I like the "DriveOne" has a nice right to it. It is funny though that Amazon calls their cloud system "Amazon Cloud Drive" yet one.com isn't suing them. Amazon Cloud Drive is closer to what the cloud system is actually called than OneDrive. SMH.

uxo22 said,
It is funny though that Amazon calls their cloud system "Amazon Cloud Drive" yet one.com isn't suing them.
Do you have proof that it should be One.com suing Amazon and not the other way round?

Well, a little quick searching suggests One.com started using the name "Cloud Drive" in 2007, and Amazon started using it in 2011.

I also noticed that box.com also has a cloud service called "Box OneCloud" which may be considered infringing ^^

Edited by uxo22, Feb 4 2014, 3:08am :

For a company with hundreds of billions of dollars in marketcap, they sure have ****ty executives for negotiations. Their lawyers must suck too. They could arrange a licensing deal or something else like Apple did with Cisco for the iPhone name.

szo said,
For a company with hundreds of billions of dollars in marketcap, they sure have ****ty executives for negotiations. Their lawyers must suck too. They could arrange a licensing deal or something else like Apple did with Cisco for the iPhone name.

Well that's a bit harsh. I guess Microsoft just didn't except One.com to be THIS retarded.

Jarrichvdv said,

Well that's a bit harsh. I guess Microsoft just didn't except One.com to be THIS retarded.

In fairness, unlike the SkyDrive dispute, One.com actually has a case...

M_Lyons10 said,

In fairness, unlike the SkyDrive dispute, One.com actually has a case...

Why, because of the "One"?
Their cloud service is called "Cloud Drive".... How is "Microsoft OneDrive" confusing?

Or everything with One should become a no-go just cause of this bussiness called one.com? Give me a break, I never heard of them, who did?

szo said,
For a company with hundreds of billions of dollars in marketcap, they sure have ****ty executives for negotiations. Their lawyers must suck too. They could arrange a licensing deal or something else like Apple did with Cisco for the iPhone name.

Personally, I think that if you are as big as Microsoft, there is no possible ways for you to dig up every possible scenarios for you not to get sued. That's just the reality of how it works in United States. If you are big, expect to get sued. Simple as that.

Jarrichvdv said,

Well that's a bit harsh. I guess Microsoft just didn't except One.com to be THIS retarded.

Huh? It's an ISP that could easily have a cloud drive so what they say make sense. I think more sense than what Sky was going on about.

Retarded, seriously? Who's being harsh here...

Shadowzz said,

Why, because of the "One"?
Their cloud service is called "Cloud Drive".... How is "Microsoft OneDrive" confusing?

Or everything with One should become a no-go just cause of this bussiness called one.com? Give me a break, I never heard of them, who did?


Because One has a cloud service, and OneDrive is a cloud service and "drives" are common applications of cloud services. So their customers could get confused when both are being discussed, and the point of trademarks is to avoid that.

No, not "everything" should become a no-go.

A windows cleaner can have a name Windows Cleaning Inc. and Microsoft won't sue. However, a file manager can't be named Windows Commander, which Ghisler learnt when Microsoft threatened to sue and when he had to change the name to Total Commander.

The field of business matters.

In this case, One and MS both have cloud services. Actual cloud services dealing with computers, not one of them with a weather forecasting service dealing with clouds.

It's kind of ridiculous. Microsoft didn't want to enter a battle with Sky Broadcasting, although they should logically have had an easier time to win that than this one...

But it probably won't come to that. MS will just pay some undisclosed sum.

Edited by Northgrove, Jan 29 2014, 3:56pm :

Northgrove said,

Because One has a cloud service, and OneDrive is a cloud service and "drives" are common applications of cloud services. So their customers could get confused when both are being discussed, and the point of trademarks is to avoid that.

No, not "everything" should become a no-go.

A windows cleaner can have a name Windows Cleaning Inc. and Microsoft won't sue. However, a file manager can't be named Windows Commander, which Ghisler learnt when Microsoft threatened to sue and when he had to change the name to Total Commander.

The field of business matters.

In this case, One and MS both have cloud services. Actual cloud services dealing with computers, not one of them with a weather forecasting service dealing with clouds.

It's kind of ridiculous. Microsoft didn't want to enter a battle with Sky Broadcasting, although they should logically have had an easier time to win that than this one...

But it probably won't come to that. MS will just pay some undisclosed sum.


But what argument does One.com have when they use the exact same name for their cloud services as Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000796931

And for Microsoft not wanting things named after their products makes perfect sense.
They took the full blast already just because programs, games and drivers just simply ran on or used their products and/or services. Something crashes or driver causing issues -> "Damn you Windows!" is the average response. While now and 15 years ago, 9 out of 10 times was 3rd party issues.

Doubt MS will pay anything, or even do anything but laugh if they would get sued.

Sky is a different matter, in the UK pretty much anything with the word Sky in it is referenced to BSkyB.

They didn't lose against BSkyB. They just decided to let it go and change the branding of SkyDrive. At least that's how I understood it.

Jarrichvdv said,
They didn't lose against BSkyB. They just decided to let it go and change the branding of SkyDrive. At least that's how I understood it.

Same here, I think with the xbox one and MS's desire to get the content companies on board they really didn't want to start a fight with Sky.

Justin Luna said,
*Facepalm*, but I hope Microsoft wins this time.

Why to win? Just because Microsoft is biger company and can do what ever they want youre just tipical blind fan boy!

King Joffrey said,

Why to win? Just because Microsoft is biger company and can do what ever they want youre just tipical blind fan boy!


No sir, they deserve to win this case. There is nothing wrong with his comment. Don't be so aggresive dude.

I don't think this is a a big deal as it was with SkyDrive. BSkyB owned a trademark on the name sky, they had a legitimate case . I don't think this company owns a trademark on One, so they can complain but nothing will happen. They should be happy with the increased traffic on the domain especially when people are looking for onedrive.com and type one.com

Wellll.. Or, people try to login to one.com with their MS Account and get mad with One.com because their credentials don't work...

Jarrichvdv said,

No sir, they deserve to win this case.

Um why, because the company that has used the one name for cloud services for the last 3 years doesn't have any rights?

lkernan said,

Um why, because the company that has used the one name for cloud services for the last 3 years doesn't have any rights?


Because, when common sense is applied, there is virtually no way you can mistake Microsoft OneDrive for One.com Cloud Drive. Both names are very different, therefor One.com has no right to win this case. It does not hurt them in any way.

This is pure objectively. I don't have anything against One.com, heck I'm even a paying customer of them, but this is ridiculous.

Yogurth said,
Why? Microsoft used same procedure for trademark when it suited them...remember Lindows? I say serves them right.

Lindows was marketed as a Windows replacement while it wasn't. It was causing bad press to Microsoft because of it.

While this on the other hand is complete and utter nonsense.

Yogurth said,
Why? Microsoft used same procedure for trademark when it suited them...remember Lindows? I say serves them right.

Lindows hoped to parlay success off the similarities to the name Windows. This is a totally different situation. If you don't like MS just say so, no need for being passive aggressive.

Jarrichvdv said,
This is surreal.

But ironically, it sounds to me like One.com has a stronger case than Sky Broadcasting had, due to the field of business, which should always be taken into account in trademark cases. Maybe MS should just have taken the battle with Sky Broadcasting... I think they would have been likely to win.

Agree w/ Northgrove here. One.com is in the same market as MS, etc of cloud services. Although, I figure since Sky is a huge company, MS didn't want to foot a huge legal expense (even though they are in different markets, which should have been a no-brainer for the judge to say no conflict here)

Also, @yardmanflex - The size of a company is irrelevant. Everyone is equal under the law. Everyone knows the only thing that matters is how many congressmen you make 'donations' to!

Yogurth said,
Why? Microsoft used same procedure for trademark when it suited them...remember Lindows? I say serves them right.
The name Lindows was supposed to be confused with Windows, otherwise, you don't choose the name of your largest competitor with just 1 different letter. OneDrive and Cloud Drive, I'll see the difference.

Yogurth said,
Why? Microsoft used same procedure for trademark when it suited them...remember Lindows? I say serves them right.

Dude.
Lindows vs Windows or Microsoft OneDrive vs One.com Cloud Drive. See the difference? This is not a case of some 'serves them right' nonsense

yardmanflex said,
They are way too small to go up against Microsoft.....this is just a Bull **** publicity stunt.

I say buy the damn company then change the name again lol...

Maybe they hope they get sued by a company that actually has a somewhat valid claim (same business) so they can use that decision to bolster the case against Sky. But that would seem like a lot of work for nothing.