Skype in trouble as a EU court says its logo and name are similar to Sky
Skype is in trouble, and finds itself in a very absurd situation.
Sky, the popular Television Business, run by Rupert Murdoch took the Microsoft owned VOIP to court because Skype sounds like Sky and its logo also looks similar to the TV company’s logo.
Skype vs Sky over Logo and Name:
Sky is a British Television Company founded in 1990, almost thirteen years ago before Skype was founded. Sky’ complaint about the logo is really weird. Take a look at both logos (Skype can be pictured above, and Sky can be seen below) and see for yourself what you find in common.
BBC observes that the Judges at the General Court of the EU said
“Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud. [That] would further increase the likelihood of the element ‘Sky’ being recognized within the word element ‘Skype’, for clouds are to be found ‘in the sky’ and thus may readily be associated with the word ‘sky’.”
Actually this isn’t the first time Sky and Microsoft are battling over a brand name. Back in 2014, Sky won a case which forced the Redmond company to rename its cloud storage service from SkyDrive to OneDrive.
Skype has been around since 2003, when it was founded a by a group of European developers. It was acquired two years later by eBay for a sum of $2.6 billion. Five years later, (in 2009), Skype’s ownership partially changed hands once again when 65% of its shares were acquired by three companies: Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, from eBay for a reported $1.9 Billion.
Two years later, the unthinkable happened, as the VOIP service was fully acquired by Microsoft, in the summer of 2011, for a whopping $8.5 Billion.
But Skype is no longer as widely used as it once was, and the competition is getting heavier with each passing day. Even though Skype is available on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, Blackberry, iOS, and Windows Phone), it has has been facing the heat with the emergence of several competitive services who offer Video calls like Viber, and also from VOIP services like WhatsApp, Google Hangouts. Recently things got worse when Facebook enabled Video Calling in its apps.
It is worth noting that Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February 2014, for a reported $22 Billion. And since Facebook is the largest Social Network in the World, chances are it could surpass Skype’s video chat service in the future.
Sky’s statement was:
“Our intention has been to protect the Sky brand with our research showing that similarities in name and logo have the potential to confuse customers.”
Now what if Skype loses the appeal, it would probably have to change its name. No it won’t as the case is not against the name itself. This is what a Microsoft spokesperson had to say:
“The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,” she told BBC News.
A possible outcome for the case is that Sky could force Microsoft to pay a license fee for infringing on it’s trademarks, and the Skype could have the clouds surrounding its name in the logo to be removed.