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Victory for Sky over Microsoft trademark infringement

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On August 1st 2007, Microsoft launched its SkyDrive hosting service which allows users to upload and sync files to a Cloud storage and then access them remotely via the Web.

In 2011 BSkyB brought an action for passing off and infringement against Microsoft for infringing Sky’s two registered community trademarks and two UK trademarks for the mark “SKY”. 

In its defence Microsoft had argued that there is no confusion between its Cloud base SkyDrive services and that of BSkyB’s pay TV/mobile and online services.  Microsoft also counterclaimed in an attempt to invalidate the four Sky trademarks on the grounds of descriptiveness for Cloud Storage services. 

Ms Justice Sarah Asplin sitting at London’s High Court decided that Microsoft’s use of the name “SkyDrive” was likely to cause confusion amongst consumers and therefore it infringes on the “SKY” trademark.  The case is certainly bad news for Microsoft and it will have implications on its SkyDrive brand both in the United Kingdom and the European Union. With regards to the counterclaim to invalidate the four Sky trademarks the Judge found that “Sky” could not be categorised as a descriptive term and therefore the mark was a valid one.

Microsoft is appealing the decision and made the following comment:

“This case is only about the SkyDrive name and has nothing to do with service availability or future innovation. The decision is one step in a legal process and Microsoft intends to appeal”.

Gepp & Sons offer a fixed fee trademark registration service.  To find out more information with regards to information technology or intellectual property including matters relating to trademark infringement please contact Christopher Ahearne on 01245 228130 or ahearnec@gepp.co.uk

Note: The above article is not legal advice, it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. 

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