Back in 2014, Microsoft lost a court battle with UK satellite broadcaster, Sky – the company had to rebrand its cloud storage service SkyDrive to OneDrive. Now, a European court has banned Microsoft from registering a trademark for Skype’s name, as well as its logo. The judges stated:
“As regards the visual, phonetic and conceptual similarity of the signs at issue, the Court has confirmed that the pronunciation of the vowel ‘y’ is no shorter in the word ‘skype’ than it is in the word ‘sky’. In addition, the word ‘sky’, part of the basic vocabulary of the English language, remains clearly identifiable in the word ‘skype’, in spite of the fact that the latter is written as only one word. Last, the element ‘sky’ in the word ‘skype’ can perfectly well be identified by the relevant public, even if the remaining element ‘pe’ has no specific meaning.”
It’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t mean that Microsoft will need to rebrand Skype with a new logo and name. The company won’t be able to trademark Skype and its logo – allowing any other company to use the word “Skype”.