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back to article Judge nixes Microsoft SkyDrive name in BSkyB court ruling

BSkyB has won a legal case against Microsoft in the UK and EU over its use of the name "SkyDrive" for its cloud storage service. British judge Sarah Asplin, sitting in the chancery division of Blighty's High Court, ruled that the evidence in the case "revealed confusion amongst real people" about the SkyDrive service, including …

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Anonymous Coward

I love watching MS lose in Court

Just wish it wasn't Murdoch that gave them a bloody nose.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I love watching MS lose in Court

after years of Microsoft dissing people's use of the English word "Windows" then they use another English word and lose. chortle

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Re: I love watching MS lose in Court

People bring up the "Windows" example in every MS trademark case, but here's the thing: MS lost the Lindows case (at least, they lost the initial injunction, and decided to settle, out of fear of losing that trademark).

But moreover, two wrongs don't make a right. Even if we didn't care about MS, the ruling here is that Sky now own the rights to the common word "Sky", even when (a) it's a market other than what Sky do, and (b) it's a common usage of the word ("sky" obviously having a connection with "cloud"). That affects everyone. Lawyers win, consumers lose.

Also note there's nothing wrong with trademarking common names. Microsoft didn't go after people using the name "Windows" for say glass-window-repair or window-cleaning businesses - the problem was that "window" was also a pre-existing term in computing. No one would care if Sky went after people using the name for another TV or ISP company.

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Re: I love watching MS lose in Court

@mark Its not the fact that sky amazingly won (too generic imho but that's irrelevant) but its the irony over the previous "windows" case that amuses us.

The old phrase "What goes around...." Springs instantly to mind

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Re: I love watching MS lose in Court

Sky is an ISP right? An internet thing. Skydrive is also an internet thing. You think Joe average is going to think they are not related?

If they were going after sky toilet paper (soft as clouds) I could see a problem, it's clear there is no relation.

You think MS would be OK with me starting up a new cloud backup service in the US called SkyBackup? Sky is just descriptive right?

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Re: I love watching MS lose in Court

Exactly, you get Sky Broadband, Sky E-Mail etc. so why would you not assume that Sky Drive is Sky's Sat Nav App ?

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Re: chortle

No chortling from me. In a perfect world MS should have lost their case on Windows and Sky should have lost their case for their trademark.

Given the way trademarks generally work under the current legal framework, the beak should be overturned surveys not withstanding. MS's cloud product isn't in the Broadcasting market so unless Sky is in the cloud storage market, the MS trademark does not infringe on their market.

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WTF?

Re: MS's cloud product isn't in the Broadcasting market

So you've not heard of Sky Broadband, or don't think that an Internet storage provider's product might reasonably be confused with an established Internet service provider of the same name?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I love watching MS lose in Court

@Great Bu: "you get Sky Broadband, Sky E-Mail etc"

There's no reference to Sky E-Mail on the Sky website. The only Internet related products that Sky offer are Sky Broadband and Sky WiFi, which is a free service only available to Sky Broadband customers. Sky doesn't brand any other Internet related services.

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Re: I love watching MS lose in Court

@AC 15:54

Sky e-mail was recently re-branded as Sky Yahoo Mail when they moved over from google providing the back end to yahoo (presumably out of pity for yahoo or something). Up until April of this year it was marketed as Sky Mail and it was (and still is) available to anyone who wants it (even if you are not a sky customer, although I can't think why you might want it if you're not).

Sky also market their roamong WiFi via a company called 'The Cloud' with a cloud symbol almost identical to the MS skydrive icon and Sky Go is their TV streaming service.

There's loads of room for confusion in clearly related areas, certainly people who don't work in IT conflate all 'computery' stuff like this into one mental space.

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Happy

An idea for the new name

RupertIsAnArseDrive.

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Joke

Re: An idea for the new name

Works for me.

Sounds better than TSFKAS anyway (the storage formerly known as Skydrive) anyway.

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Stop

Infringing how?

One is for an offline storage device, the other is a satellite tv provider. They are hardly in the same market so no infringement.

This needs throwing out.

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Alien

Re: Infringing how?

Since Sky broadcasts from satellites up in the sky, and The Sky at Night has featured people looking up into the sky, often at satellites (natural or man-made), for over 50 years now, by the same reasoning, shouldn't the BBC sue Murdoch - because obviously people are going to confuse the TV station with the BBCs astronomy programme?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Infringing how?

One is a CLOUD (aka online) storage service.

The other is a satellite television, phone line, and ISP providor (note that ISP = internet = online)

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Megaphone

Re: Infringing how?

I'm so loath to side with News International & Murdoch, but as they seem to be an internet service provider, then a Sky Drive could reasonably be supplied by BSkyB

I think that Apple will definitely have to steer well clear of calling their product iTV over here.

Actually, now Sky seem to have the use of Skydrive, that could be their generic name for their own programmes on demand service (like Netflix or Lovefilm)

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Re: Infringing how?

"Actually, now Sky seem to have the use of Skydrive, that could be their generic name for their own programmes on demand service (like Netflix or Lovefilm)"

I'd love them to launch their own Skydrive after this case, and for it to result in an *increase* of people phoning them to ask about support for MS Skydrive...

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Re: Infringing how?

If you counted the number of times they said TV or Television at the Xbox launch you might presuppose Microsoft had big ambitions in this area. Online delivery to a worldwide audience is the next big game in town. Consequently Sky will be delivering more and more content from the cloud including all your future saved planner content for delivery to all mobile devices and consoles. The Sky box will barely need to exist in a few years and could be replaced by a Sky Cloud service. I can see the problem.

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Re: Infringing how?

Sky are the third largest ISP in the UK. The largest, BT, offers a cloud storage service similar to Skydrive.

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Re: loath to side with

This isn't about siding with the lesser of two evils. If the ruling stands it sets a precedent that if you are a sufficiently well known brand, you can stomp on other people in completely different market segments. That's bad for all of us.

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Re: the next big game in town.

Trademarks aren't issued for possible future products. They are issued for things you are doing RFN. If you snooze, you lose.

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Pint

Probably says more about the average user's powers of deduction than anything else.

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I'm not sure why. There is a very well known company called Sky, and it has TV, phone and internet services. Then there is a new internet service call SkyDrive; and people associate it with the internet provider Sky?

Now if it was called MicrosoftDrive and people thought it had something to do with Sky, I could understand you, but given only that it's called SkyDrive, I fail to see why you would assume it was from Microsoft.

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Happy

lawyergasms

The could try Microdrive and get sued by the ghost of Sinclair

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It is very clearly a microsoft product, Microsoft blue, annoying tiling, It even tells you in the address bar.

http://gyazo.com/a1bcc4e4b8fe29690c30b4fd23fc8122.png

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Joke

How about SunDrive? Clouds block the Sun sometimes?

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Poor choice of name

As per title, it is a poor choice of name.

I have to say as an IT literate (not to mention an IT worker and sysadmin) I too would point the finger at BSkyB if someone asked who provided the service called "SkyDrive" or "SkyDrive cloud storage".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poor choice of name

If someone asked you who provided the iPlayer service would you say Apple?

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Re: Poor choice of name

What I see: "As an IT literate, I too would be completely ignorant to the name of the cloud hosting service for the major OS used by 90% of users. Rather than using my IT literate skills in a 10 second Google search to educate myself, I'll just jump to a conclusion, and assume that there can't possible be more than one use for a commonly used word in the English language. I'd also tell people to buy Apple ipods at Apple Records, and I think that Windows and X Windows are made by the same company."

I don't mean to be harsh, but this really is user stupidity that's been reported, and an IT literate should know better - either straight off, or know how to look it up. And ignorance shouldn't allow companies to own the English language.

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Re: Poor choice of name

Makes note to throw any CVs from people called Phil W in the bin.

IT literate my arse.

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Re: Poor choice of name

Certainly as an IT literate I would look it up. That was not really my point.

My point was that the name alone does not indicate ties to Microsoft in anyway and since Sky is an ISP I would associate it with them if asked on the spot (without opportunity to google it).

Infringement is to do with the immediate association not whether you can look it up with google to figure it out.

If,without prior knowledge of the product or any way to lookup it up, you would associate the brand SkyDrive with Microsoft please explain to me why?

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Re: Poor choice of name

Also...

Google Drive is Google's cloud storage, again without looking it up it would be logical to think SkyDrive was Sky's

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Re: Poor choice of name

"If someone asked you who provided the iPlayer service would you say Apple?"

Funny you should mention that one. Given their track record, plus the example outside the IT world of Easy<whatever>, I am astonished that Apple didn't sue.

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Joke

Re: Poor choice of name

"If someone asked you who provided the iPlayer service would you say Apple?"

" I am astonished that Apple didn't sue."

They did. They settled out of court and the primary restitution to Apple was a guarantee that the BBC would mention "Apple", "iPad", "iPod", "iPhone" and use the term "PodCast" at least once per 5 minute interval somewhere across their entire estate of broadcast mediums.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poor choice of name

Then you sir, are an idiot. Remind me to never hire you

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Re: And ignorance shouldn't allow companies to own the English language.

I think we'd all be better off if there were no qualifiers about companies being allowed to own any parts of the English language. Alas, that feather pillow seems to have been burst at the top of a hill on a windy day.

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FAIL

"this case... has nothing to do with... future innovation"

"This case is only about the SkyDrive name and has nothing to do with service availability or future innovation,"

This was clearly a communication from MSFT USA as anyone else with even a cursory understanding of the English language would spot the non-sequitur immediately.

'hats' off to the idiot who wrote it.

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I can see the issue.

Something being in "the cloud" is not in "the sky", and just refers to a "cloud" of connected online servers and storage. MS trying to allude that "clouds" and "sky" are related seems a bit of clutching at straws and that BSkyB having an ISP which may offer storage means that they would have a "skydrive" in the way that google have a "googledrive".

So I kind of see it. I am not confused but I supposed they have to assume that someone will make the error and assume that MS is now a front for Murdoch and his evil henchmen.

Google now literally having the internet attached to balloons in the sky may only cause further confusion though!

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Re: I can see the issue.

My local branch of major retailer M&S is offering free Wi-Fi through The Cloud, a BSkyB company. No doubt that will be related somewhere as BSkyB offering cloud through MS. Grounds for MS to sue?

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@SuperTim

When looking to trademark a product, if the primary term is already overcrowded you start to look for synonyms or related terms. Clouds are most certainly in the sky so 'sky' as part of the artificial name you create for your product is a logical step, and it is descriptive. The root problem here is that MS shouldn't be able to own 'Windows' as a trademark and the satellite/broadcasting company shouldn't be able to own 'Sky.' 'Skye' maybe, but certainly not 'Sky.'

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kbb

"Redmond tried to argue that the term "sky" was descriptive"

Like "windows" then?

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And next week

he'll start suing airlines.

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Happy

This does beg the question...

what was the Beatles song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' really about?

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Trollface

Re: This does beg the question...

Apparently that song was written whilst they were under to influence of hallucinogen drugs.

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Re: This does beg the question...

it was about three and a half minutes.....

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Re: This does beg the question...

Implying the others weren't?

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FAIL

Re: This does beg the question...

No it wasn't, it was written about a girlfriend of Paul's called Lucy...

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Anonymous Coward

using THIS logic...

ITV could lose to Apple.

Just because consumers don't know what it is and who it belongs to - it doesn't mean that Sky should win.

Are they going to sue Skylon next? Or maybe the Isle of Skye?

"Hello, is that Sky? Yes, I'd like to make a complaint. I visited your island the other day and I was very disappointed by the lack of high definition sheep."

I fear for classical-pop music combo.....uhm....Sky.....people could get confused while listening to Toccata...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: using THIS logic...

But sky is long running in the market of ISPs and people were making an active mistake in contacting sky rather than microsoft with problems.

When I say sky what's the first technological thing that comes to mind. Sky TV right?

When you say ITV what's the first thing that comes to mind, ITV (channel 3) ergo there are probably a lot of itiots out there who would buy an iTV (apple) have problems and proceed to complain to iTV (channel) which is what has caused the court case.

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Re: using THIS logic...

"Hello, is that Sky? Yes, I'd like to make a complaint. I visited your island the other day and I was very disappointed by the lack of high definition sheep."

What would be entertaining now is if a Sky customer* actually did that, recorded it and uploaded the results.

* Where the value of "a Sky customer" is actually "lots of Sky customers".

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