Microsoft is being forced to rename their cloud service SkyDrive in Europe after they lost a court case against BSkyB.
The case started back in June 2011, when News International, owners of the TV channel Sky, claimed that Microsoft’s use of the word ‘Sky’ in the cloud service’s name infringed on their trademark. In April 2013, after an eight day trial, it was passed that Microsoft would have to ditch the SkyDrive name in Europe and rename it.
Sky mainly provides TV broadcasting, but they’ve also expanded into other areas. Online streaming and apps are also part of their agenda. In fact, Sky used to own their own online storage service, but they closed this down in 2011 after having it for three years.
During the case Microsoft put forward that consumers wouldn’t get SkyDrive and any services offered by Sky confused. A fair point, perhaps – why should BSkyB have a claim on such a common word? However, the judge ruled that the reach and range of the Sky brand could cause confusion for consumers and that the SkyDrive name would be detrimental to Sky’s branding.
Speaking to TechCrunch when the ruling was passed, Microsoft said that “the decision is one step in the legal process and Microsoft intends to appeal”. At the time, many people assumed that Microsoft wouldn’t go down without a fight. Besides, they’ve spent six years on SkyDrive and they’ve recently made a big push integrating it into their services (like Windows 8).
However, on the contrary, it was announced at the end of July that Microsoft were not going to appeal the decision. This means that throughout Europe SkyDrive will be renamed.
A joint press release from Microsoft and BSkyB stated: “According to the settlement, Microsoft will not pursue its planned appeal of this decision and Sky will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand. The agreement also contains financial and other terms, the details of which are confidential.”
The companies went on to say that the decision “reflects the desire of both companies to focus on joint projects to benefit their customers”, referencing their partnership to bring Sky programming to the Xbox platform.
Separately, Microsoft said: “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.”
It’s currently unknown what Microsoft intends to alter SkyDrive’s name to, nor how long they are able to keep using SkyDrive for (this latter detail is part of the confidential court proceedings). Indeed, it is possible that the entire platform could be rebranded in order to avoid confusion for consumers. Some commenters believe that Microsoft putting their hands up and walking away signifies their desire to bring in a whole new branding.
Sky announced their continued stance, saying: “We will remain vigilant in protecting the Sky brand and will continue to take appropriate action against those companies who seek to use our trade mark without consent.”
Microsoft to Rename SkyDrive in Europe
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