Microsoft set to re-brand SkyDrive following trademark dispute


Microsoft set to re-brand SkyDrive following trademark dispute

Computer software company Microsoft has reached an agreement with broadcaster BskyB and will re-brand its SkyDrive service following a trademark dispute.

Microsoft has decided not to appeal against a court ruling which said SkyDrive infringed the ‘Sky’ trademark.

The settlement, reached on July 31, will allow Microsoft to continue using the name temporarily but it will eventually be forced to rebrand.

In June, High Court judge Mrs Justice Asplin ruled that Microsoft’s use of the name SkyDrive, for its cloud storage system, infringed on BskyB’s branding in the UK and EU.

Making reference to customers’ confusion such as calling the wrong helpline, Asplin said there had been a misrepresentation, “whether intentional or not.”

Microsoft previously indicated it wished to appeal against the ruling arguing that the name was a description of its cloud services.

But in a statement released yesterday, Microsoft said it was “glad to have reached a resolution,” adding it was keen to continue the services its customers have come to expect.

Lara Grant, senior attorney at Avidity IP in Epping, said it was important for Microsoft to “brush the case under the carpet.”

She told WIPR: “After the long court procedure it [Microsoft] has likely foreseen that it was not going to be successful with an appeal and would potentially run up thousands or millions in further expenses.”

“The ruling is quite clear,” added Grant, “‘Sky’ is a well-known trademark which customers know and trust. By Microsoft adding ‘Drive’ to the title it doesn’t add or describe anything that would distinguish it and customers could quite clearly still believe they were using a BskyB product.”

The agreement also contains financial “and other” terms, the details of which are confidential.

“I expect Microsoft will have settled in the form of legal proceedings but for them the important thing now is to brush this under the carpet and re-brand into something recognisable and attributable to them,” said Grant.

"We are pleased to have reached a settlement," said BskyB, which is partly owned by news mogul Rupert Murdoch.

"We will remain vigilant in protecting the Sky brand and will continue to take appropriate action against those companies who seek to use our trademark without consent," it added.

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