EU Court Decides That 'Skype' Sounds Too Much Like 'Sky'

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The problem with words is that sometimes they can sound all too similar. An EU court has decided that’s certainly the case for Skype, which apparently sounds too much like the name of broadcaster Sky.

Judges in the EU court decided that the name of Microsoft’s video calling system could easily be confused by the general public for the name of Sky. In fact, the judges explained:

“Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud. [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’.”

Right. The case was the culmination of complaints originally made in 2005 by the Sky TV broadcasting company. While the ruling will stop Microsoft from registering a trademark for Skype’s name and logo, it won’t stop them being able to use the name. Which is something.

It’s not the first time Microsoft and Sky have come to blows. Last year, Microsoft had to rename it SkyDrive cloud storage system as OneDrive, following successful legal action by, yes, Sky. [BBC]

Image by jorge.correa under Creative Commons licence