Microsoft loses in court in SkyDrive UK trademark dispute but will appeal

While Microsoft was promoting the use of its SkyDrive service for Windows 8.1 at this week's BUILD Conference, the company lost a fight over the SkyDrive trademark itself in a UK courtroom on Friday. The judge in the case ruled that the use of the SkyDrive label violates the trademarks of the UK pay TV provider BSkyB, which is owned by News Corporation.

According to TechCrunch, News Corporation filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in 2011, claiming that BSkyB offers up mobile apps and an online streaming service under the Sky brand that are cloud-based as the basis of their legal fight. Microsoft has claimed that its SkyDrive cloud data storage service could not be easily confused with Sky's streaming video services. However, in her ruling on Friday, Justice Sarah Asplin felt differently and said that Microsoft's use of the SkyDrive name was in fact detrimental to News Corporation's Sky trademark.

Microsoft has already announced it plans to appeal the ruling of Justice Asplin. Assuming that further court rulings are not in Microsoft's favor, it may have to change the name of SkyDrive in Europe, pay a fine or both. The story mentions that News Corporation previously filed a lawsuit against Skype a number of years ago, under a similar premise, but that legal fight apparently didn't go anywhere.

Source: TechCrunch | Image via Microsoft

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I don't live in the UK, but have heard about sky through microsoft because of their ability to use the xbox as a tv tuner, and having UK friends. But never once did I ever think they might be associated, and I'm pretty sure companies like Microsoft and Apple, common named companies copyright it under a longer name like the aforementioned above.

And by "terrestrial TV" you really mean FREE TV, or at least TV that doesn't request you to pay extra on top of the license. At the end of the day though, you get what you pay for.

The BBC, ITV, C4 and C5 can't pay enough to get the big shows, Sky can. Get over it, or get Sky

Sky didn't ruin terrestrial TV as much as terrestrial channels on terrestrial TV ruined it for themselves, with their extremely stingy offers for various programmes, sporting events, etc.

How do you think the Premier League was first born? Did you forget that ITV low-balling the Football League for broadcast rights to the top division (complete with temper-trantrum blackouts if they didn't get their own way) was a big reason why they took themselves off to Sky's money? If Sky weren't around to do that, we'd still have awful football with awful grounds.

In short, the terrestrial companies have no one to blame but themselves.

Haha.

Microsoft sues anything that has a name that resembles anything like a product they use.
Ask the Linux community

Now MS is losing a name dispute and people cheer for MS... weird world we live in.

Would it be so far fetched that sky would want to make a product called sky drive in the future?? If they did would Microsoft try and sue them??

exotoxic said,
Would it be so far fetched that sky would want to make a product called sky drive in the future?? If they did would Microsoft try and sue them??

Maybe, but they already have a Sky Box.... sounds a bit like Xbox and I'm sure Sky will let you play Halo on their Sky Box... maybe not the game but certainly the movie, and I'm sure that'll confuse a lot of people.

I think if Microsoft lost the case and had to drop SkyDrive brand in the UK, they should simply block access to SkyDrive and any online services that use it from any BSkyB internet IPs. That way, there is no confusion for any Sky customer of what they can and can not do with either service.

So "Between 2008 and 2011, Sky provided 'Sky Store & Share', which was an online storage service available for customers to upload and share their digital files and photos, and information about events and appointments. Sky Store & Share is no longer available to the public having been discontinued in December 2011."

And then "Microsoft's SkyDrive product was launched in the UK, the USA and India in August 2007 and in the rest of the EU during 2008. The product provides users with an online storage facility for document files, photos and the like which they can then access from anywhere on the internet and make available for sharing with others. It formed part of the "Windows Live" online services alongside Hotmail email and the Messenger messaging service."

Microsoft had Skydrive in the UK before BSkyB, not only that but BSkyB's own service is discontinued already...

sagum said,
Microsoft had Skydrive in the UK before BSkyB, not only that but BSkyB's own service is discontinued already...

Selective quote. You just see what you want to see and ignore the rest.

The earlier findings included: "Sky is a provider of television and communication products and services including broadband in the United Kingdom. In 2001, it produced a set-top box (Sky+) which includes digital storage for recording and replaying content".

The trade marks in issue were registered in 2002 and 2006. This is all relevant, you know.

I've been using SkyDrive here in the UK for a very long time. Never once, not even slightly, did I consider that it might be related to, or compete with, the BSkyB brand.

True story.

Slugsie said,
I've been using SkyDrive here in the UK for a very long time. Never once, not even slightly, did I consider that it might be related to, or compete with, the BSkyB brand.

True story.


Yeah, I don't imagine many people would. You'd have to be a moron. LOL

Usually the significant thing is if a product name is used in the same context. I find it a stretch here because SkyDrive is not a media product that is similar to anything BSkyB offer, however they are both in the extended area of IT and media. Far more people in the UK are aware of BSkyB than will think of Microsoft when they see the brand SkyDrive (though I have to say the similarity hadn't even occurred to me).

Is there a significant role for SkyDrive in the Xbox One? If so, that might explain some of this - since that is moving SkyDrive significantly into the same space (the living room media zone) as BSkyB.

Oh for god sake. All i see here is another judge with a Murdoch hand up their backside.

The word 'Sky' was around a very long time before BSB were and i've never once felt confused by SkyDrive's name and thought it was any thing to do with 'Sky'.

As far as i'm concerned it's 'SkyDrive' because it's a drive in the clouds.

I have never linked Sky with SkyDrive, personally I'd rather not touch anything to do with Rupert Murdoch the money robbing Gorilla! Don't have anything to do with Sky, I never even used their failed MySpace when that was popular!

I'm from Aussie and I can differentiate between the two so I'm sure peepz in the UK can too! Dumbest thing I've ever heard! Is she assuming peepz from the UK are imbecilic or something?

I hope SkyDrive doesn't go the way of Metro... I hate it when stuff like this happens. Sometimes the courts can be very stupid...

Er, what? Never until this moment has my brain made any connection between SkyDrive and any of Sky's brands.

Yes, that was my first thought too. I was trying to think which company would be involved when I saw the headline and was genuinely surprised that it was Sky.

But hey, iCloud has nothing to do with clouds, with weather forecast nor with the technology itself known as cloud computing. *******

This is a stupid ruling either that all the majority can't tell the difference. I use both MS's Skydrive service and I also watch SkyTV, strangely enough I don't get confused between the two, I don't go to my Skydrive and expect to watch Live TV.

Though, "Justice Sarah Asplin felt differently and said that Microsoft's use of the SkyDrive name was in fact detrimental to News Corporation's Sky trademark"

How is it detrimental?

Avi Patel said,
Well, this is pretty idiotic.
Just how stupid does Europe think it's citizens are??

Very! apparently. Now don't take this as my statement to offend any Europeans/UK citizens.

Avi Patel said,
Well, this is pretty idiotic.
Just how stupid does Europe think it's citizens are??

What does this have to do with Europe? The answer? Nothing. This is a purely UK decision.

abecedarian paradoxious said,
This sets up a precedent.
If victorious in UK, suits can be filed elsewhere citing this ruling.

Does "elsewhere" have companies called "Sky" that sell TV and Internet services?

Quite a lot of Europe has Sky serving them satellite tv, not to sure about broadband. There`s also Sky in Australia, New Zealand, you get the picture
Funny thing is New Zealand have a VOD service called iSky!

Personally i think it`s silly but you what can you do...

Riggers said,
Quite a lot of Europe has Sky serving them satellite tv, not to sure about broadband. There`s also Sky in Australia, New Zealand, you get the picture
Funny thing is New Zealand have a VOD service called iSky!

Personally i think it`s silly but you what can you do...


Aussieland is part of British Kingdom.
Rest of EU isnt.

Does it really matter. If it sets a precedant, it sets one whether that`s in Europe, Australia (who still have their own laws) or Mars
I`m not saying it`s right (as stated i think it`s silly) but if it can be pointed to by lawyers you can be damn sure they`ll bring it up especially if there`s a chance of gettting some money out of MSFT...

TCLN Ryster said,
Does "elsewhere" have companies called "Sky" that sell TV and Internet services?

Doesn't matter. If the trademark is established somewhere, obtaining that trademark elsewhere is made more easy. And this is News Corp we're talking about here, who has world-wide presence and services of one sort or another.

But it would come down to the regional jurisdiction to make that decision.

Just look at Apple and the iPhone thing with China.

Microsoft should just let this go. Rubber Rupert Murdoch is in the pockets of too many officials for MS to win on this one ... The media unfortunately is ruled by this guy and nobody in power clearly gives a f**k. ... Especially Cameron!

Soo anything with the word Sky in it would confuse people in the UK?

Sounds like this judge has very little respect for the knowledge of some people

Difference....

Sky is a TV and News broadcasting company (not a Cloud Storage company)

Lindows is a Desktop Operating System running over Linux...

I think you can see how one could confuse Lindows abit more than SkyDrive

brent3000 said,
Difference....

Sky is a TV and News broadcasting company (not a Cloud Storage company)

Sky provides broadband and has streaming on-demand content, so it's very much associated with online services.

So sky has the right on everything IT based with sky in it. another fine for MS in Europe. they somehow substitute the whole EU Finance **** ups

-adrian- said,
So sky has the right on everything IT based with sky in it. another fine for MS in Europe. they somehow substitute the whole EU Finance **** ups

The UK is not Europe and Europe has nothing to do with this ruling. Nor have any "fines" been imposed by either the UK or Europe. They have simply said they need to change the name. They can and will most likely appeal the decision however if they loose then they will get sued which will result in a fine or legal action. This is pretty standard practice in and outside the UK and the risk you take when you fight though the courts.

Believe it or not individual countries have their own companies that operate with their own trademarks and just because a company is big and american that doesn't give them the right to maintain trademarks etc in every country they fancy setting up in. BSkyB are pretty big across Europe and have a presence in most of not all of the european members so yeah it's unlikely if they loose int he UK that they will "win" anywhere else however this will be down to Sky and Microsoft and if Microsoft loose then that's the risk they took.

It's no different to when Google used googlemail instead of gmail in a number of european countries because of trademarks already issued in those countries.

While I think the ruling is as retarded as you do and agree with your points sky in this case have a legitimate interest in maintaining this name "free" as the Sky brand across Europe is quite well known.

Edited by Unplugged, Jun 30 2013, 12:15pm :

Unplugged said,

The UK is not Europe and Europe has nothing to do with this ruling. Nor have any "fines" been imposed by either the UK or Europe. They have simply said they need to change the name. They can and will most likely appeal the decision however if they loose then they will get sued which will result in a fine or legal action. This is pretty standard practice in and outside the UK and the risk you take when you fight though the courts.

Believe it or not individual countries have their own companies that operate with their own trademarks and just because a company is big and american that doesn't give them the right to maintain trademarks etc in every country they fancy setting up in. BSkyB are pretty big across Europe and have a presence in most of not all of the european members so yeah it's unlikely if they loose int he UK that they will "win" anywhere else however this will be down to Sky and Microsoft and if Microsoft loose then that's the risk they took.

It's no different to when Google used googlemail instead of gmail in a number of european countries because of trademarks already issued in those countries.

While I think the ruling is as retarded as you do and agree with your points sky in this case have a legitimate interest in maintaining this name "free" as the Sky brand across Europe is quite well known.

I don't know anything about trademark and UK laws but I find it a bit pathetic that a common word such as sky(unless you replace is with heaven) can be trademark. I thought that common words can't be trademark at all? Regardless the name skydrive is not the same as Sky. But I am sure this is because MS has big pockets that they are being targeted. I am sure there are plenty of companies with the Sky name in the UK where they have an internet presence.

coderchi said,
I don't know anything about trademark and UK laws but I find it a bit pathetic that a common word such as sky(unless you replace is with heaven) can be trademark.

As opposed to the US with companies like "Apple" and brands like "Windows" and "Office"?

The reality is that Sky is a major brand in the UK and there is potential for confusion. Whether that warrants Microsoft being unable to use the SkyDrive brand is up for debate

there is no confusion! they work with different products plus Sky is not he same as Skydrive!!!! just a stupid guy would confuse the two, being so different in everything

theyarecomingforyou said,

As opposed to the US with companies like "Apple" and brands like "Windows" and "Office"?

The reality is that Sky is a major brand in the UK and there is potential for confusion. Whether that warrants Microsoft being unable to use the SkyDrive brand is up for debate

This case is exactly like "OpenOffice" not, in fact, being a violation of Microsoft's copyright.

erikpienk said,
there is no confusion! they work with different products plus Sky is not he same as Skydrive!!!! just a stupid guy would confuse the two, being so different in everything

Sky already has products like the Sky Box and Sky Hub, so it's perfectly reasonable to assume they'd make a product called Sky Drive / SkyDrive. At the end of the day Sky is a major UK brand that has a major online presence and provides broadband services. There is certainly potential for confusion.

I'm not sure I agree with the ruling but I can certainly understand why it was made.

theyarecomingforyou said,

As opposed to the US with companies like "Apple" and brands like "Windows" and "Office"?

Except I think the trademarks are "Apple Computers", "Microsoft Windows", and "Microsoft Office". People who are familiar with the products shorten the names, but that doesn't make them trademarks.

... Unless of course I'm wrong on the whole matter, which I definitely could be. Microsoft does list “Windows” on its own as a trademark.

-Edited because I think I was wrong on some points.

Edited by ITFiend, Jul 1 2013, 4:26am :

You do realise that "Apple Computers" (or Apple Inc as they're actually known now) had a big legal fight with Apple Corps (the ones who own The Beatles music) several times over the name? It's got nothing to do with "shortening" it.