Microsoft is forced to change SkyDrive name due to trademark infringement

skydrive

It looks like Microsoft can’t catch a break when it comes to naming things. After having to stop using the ‘Metro’ name last year because of a potential trademark issue with a Germany retailer, now Microsoft is being forced to rename SkyDrive.

A UK court has ruled in favor of British Sky Broadcasting Group, saying that the ‘SkyDrive’ name has infringed on a trademark of theirs. The BSkyB runs channels like Sky One, Sky Sports, and Sky Movies in the UK. Microsoft and BSkyB quickly settled after the ruling: Microsoft has agreed to not appeal the verdict and to change the SkyDrive name, while BSkyB is allowing them to continue to use SkyDrive for some time to allow for “an orderly transition to a new brand.” According to The Verge, there were other terms included in the agreement but neither company will disclose them due to the deal being confidential.

It should be noted Microsoft lost the battle in the UK, so technically they could rename SkyDrive in just the UK and keep it SkyDrive elsewhere. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Microsoft will probably rebrand SkyDrive globally because having two names for the same cloud service is a very smart marketing move.

A Microsoft representative also gave the publication a statement regarding the matter: “We’re glad to have resolution of this naming dispute, and will continue to deliver the great service our hundreds of millions of customers expect, providing the best way to always have your files with you.”

Now if only all other legal disputes in the industry were settled this quickly. I’m looking at you Apple and Samsung.

[via The Verge]

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12 comments

  1. JonE

    All of these companies suing other companies over all the stuff they sue each other for is ridiculous and in the end it’s the consumer that gets stuck in the middle with higher prices.

    Anyone who has read my opinions in the past knows I’m not a Microsoft fan; not even close, but I think Microsoft is getting screwed in this case.

    And Microsoft has been using this SkyDrive name for some years now and this is, just now, becoming a problem for Sky Broadcasting? What took them so long? And why now?

  2. Darcy

    Sky itself is too generic and popular a word to be trademarked. Most likely they have a copyright on several Sky____ names to reserve them for future products and services. That’s common practice when a company has a theme going.

  3. jayesstee

    [@Mike] I bet Sky’s, Microsoft’s, Apple’s and Samsung’s Lawyer’s departments are separate “cost centers”.  That is, they have to show a departmental profit, or at least a strong contribution to Company overheads.  This means that some of their time is spent thinking up profitable litigation.
    Shame when commonsense takes last place!

  4. Mike

    [@jayesstee] Sorry, but: it’s not the lawyers (they only try to effectuate what the cleints want), it’s the parties themselves, feeling that they “own” all ways a word might be used (that ain’t the case, folks, under the laws).

  5. jayesstee

    [@Ashraf] You realise that you won’t be able to use a lot of common phrases:
    “The sky’s the the limit.”
    “Blue sky thinking.”
    “Sky diving.”

    Incidentally, the BBC has a long running (50+ years) called: “The Sky at night”.
    Perhaps, logically, Sky Broadcasting will have to change?

    Ain’t it a shame when the Lawyers run the place?

  6. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    Is it just me or are Europeans out to get Microsoft. Just Metro now Sky? LOL!

    [@Unamericanize Your Internet] Agreed. This is ridiculous. I’d understand if Microsoft and BSkyB were in the same business, e.g. if Microsoft released a TV channel in UK called Sky Drive. But SkyDrive cloud storage and BSkyB’s business are in two different industries… and sky is a generic word…

    Then again, this is karma: Microsoft hasn’t shied away from legally going after other companies in the past.

    [@Mike] BSkyB is worth roughly $18 billion — that would have to be one expensive donation.

  7. Mike

    Wow, too bad for the Big M. And does Sky Broadcasting have any similar/related product so that there really would be confusion?

    Perhaps Microsoft should make a $ contribution to Sky Broadcasting. A good trademark to have . . . .