The Sky's the limit: OHIM Board of Appeal rules on BSkyB/Skype confusion issue

By Lorna Caddy

The benefits of being the first to register came to the aid of British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB) in a recent OHIM Board of Appeal decision. The Board of Appeal ruled that there was a likelihood of confusion between the application for a black and white figurative mark containing the word ‘Skype’ and the word CTM SKY registered in relation to identical goods.

The slogan element of Skype’s mark (the whole world can talk for free) was found to be descriptive of the goods and therefore a weak element. The device element ‘Skype’ was considered the dominant element. When comparing the words Skype and Sky, the board noted that it is ‘the more important beginning of the mark to which consumers normally pay more attention’. On this basis, there was found to be a medium degree of similarity between the two marks…

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