Skype too similar in name to Sky, says EU court ruling

5 May 2015

Microsoft are likely to appeal the decision made by the General Court of the European Union, which has ruled that the company’s Skype name and logo is too similar to the broadcaster Sky.

Going by this new ruling, Microsoft will not not be able to register Skype as a trademark within the European Union, despite fighting the challenge by Sky, which was first brought to the courts all the way back in 2005.

According to the BBC, the council of judges gave their reasoning citing the “lofty ideas” of its cloud bubble logo as the main issue.

Future Human

“Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud,” the council said

“[That] 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’.”

Microsoft deny name change

Despite the seemingly drastic idea that a whole re-branding of the communications tool in Europe would be on the cards, a spokesperson for Microsoft has issued a statement to the BBC saying that this will not be the case.

“The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,” she said. “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.”

Microsoft are no doubt still smarting over a previous run-in with the lawyers of Sky last year, when it took the company to court over Microsoft’s Sky Drive cloud service, which, Sky claimed, was misleading people to think it was its product.

Skype on mobile image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic