20 May 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Microsoft facing Indian ‘Azure’ trademark litigation

Data analytics service provider  Azure Knowledge is suing  Microsoft in India for trademark infringement.

Since 2010, Microsoft has used Azure as the brand name for its cloud computing products, which includes virtual machines, data storage and backup, and gaming facilities, among others.

But in a statement to the media issued yesterday, May 19, Azure Knowledge said it was intervening to block Microsoft from using the brand name in India.

Azure Knowledge offers a range of data analytics, visualisation, and virtual reality-based products, and placed 100th on Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500 growth rankings.

The company’s website says that Azure Knowledge was co-founded by Indian businessman Jay Ruparel in 2003, although both the company’s press release and trademark registration claims it has been using the ‘Azure’ mark in India since 1996.

Azure Knowledge, now headquartered in New Jersey, alleged that Microsoft had only been using the mark in India since 2016—a Microsoft trademark application for ‘Azure’ opposed by Azure Knowledge claims the mark has been in use since 2008.

The allegation stems from a  Microsoft press release issued in late 2015 which said that subscription-based Azure products would be commercially available in India the following year.

Microsoft had previously applied for an Indian trademark for ‘SQL Azure’ as far back as 2009 although, according to the Indian trademark registry, this application was abandoned.

According to Azure Knowledge, the aim of the litigation is to bar Microsoft from using the ‘Azure’ mark, as well as other product names including 'Azure Cosmos DB', 'Azure Cloud For All', 'Azure Sphere', and 'Azure Brain Wave'.

WIPR has contacted Microsoft for comment in response to Azure Knowledge’s allegations.

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