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Sky wants Skype to change its name

Too close for comfort
Wed Aug 11 2010, 11:28

SATELLITE TELEVISION NETWORK BSkyB is taking on Skype by alleging that its trademark is frighteningly close to the Sky brand.

The TV firm says that it is currently "in dispute" over Skype's trademark application, however it has not brought any formal proceedings against the IP based communications company. Skype recently launched an initial public offering (IPO) to drum up additional capital.

Part of the lure for investors is the Skype branding, which has become synonymous with voice over IP. The IPO is seen as vital for the firm to continue to push forward as it struggles to generate revenue, in spite of its position in the market. However it's the brand name that BSkyB is particularly worried about.

Talking to Reuters, a spokesman for BSkyB said that, "The key contention in the dispute is that the brands Sky and Skype will be considered confusingly similar by members of the public. This was supported by consumer research conducted by Sky." No surprise that Sky gave no details about what consumers were asked when they were taking part in this 'research'.

BSkyB has been desperate to stop Skype from using its name or logo, having gotten an EU ruling that ordered Skype cease use of its logo until it attains a license from BSkyB. Skype is appealing that decision but if it loses the appeal, then Skype could have to change its name and logo.

Firms are very protective of their brand names and wary of possible confusion with competitors. However with such a simple mark, it is unreasonable to think that no other firms will have three letters in their names.

We note that BSkyB doesn't have any objection to Skyy vodka being sold. Perhaps it is Rupert Murdoch's choice of tipple? µ



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