Trademark infringement: Sky drives out Microsoft

BSkyB, the well-known UK broadcaster and provider of communication products, has won its claim against Microsoft for trademark infringement and passing off in relation to Microsoft’s use of the name ‘SkyDrive’ for its cloud storage service.

Microsoft launched its SkyDrive product in 2007–08. It was initially branded as ‘Windows Live SkyDrive’ but by 2011 had developed into a major standalone brand, with 92 million users worldwide.

In considering whether there was a likelihood of confusion, the English High Court held that the average consumer would see SkyDrive as two words, with ‘sky’ being the dominant element fulfilling a trademark function and ‘drive’ being merely descriptive. The court also took into account the context of Microsoft’s use, noting that, even before it became a separate brand in 2011, SkyDrive was often used free of all Microsoft context…

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