Microsoft to appeal against court SkyDrive ruling

Judge's gavel
Judge rules, Microsoft goes back to lawyers

Microsoft is to appeal against a court ruling that it had infringed on BSkyB's trademark territory with the name of its SkyDrive cloud storage service.

The England and Wales High Court ruled last week that there could be confusion between SkyDrive and BSkyB broadband services, as the latter had been identified with the term well before Microsoft launched its service in the UK. This has left Microsoft facing the prospect of having to change the name in the European market and the possibility of a fine.

But the company has issued a statement making clear that it not yet ready to give up the fight to retain the name.

"This case is only about the SkyDrive name and has nothing to do with service availability or future innovation," a Microsoft representative said. "The decision is one step in the legal process and Microsoft intends to appeal."

Common term

Microsoft argued during the case that 'sky' was a commonly used term for cloud storage systems, but Justice Aplin ruled in BSkyB's favour.

In her full ruling she stated that there is a close provision between file storage and broadband services, that consumers might think there is a connection between BSkyB and SkyDrive, and that an email with SkyDrive attachment would not necessarily appear as a Microsoft product to the recipient.

"Just as under the 'identity head' it is important to bear in mind the context in which the sign appears," Justice Aspin said. "As I mentioned under that head, the context includes for example, the appearance of SkyDrive as a pre-loaded tile on a laptop, as an app on a mobile phone or on an Xbox in circumstances in which it is difficult if not impossible for the consumer to appreciate that there is any Microsoft connection."

Last year Microsoft had to drop the term 'Metro' for some of its user interfaces after legal action by a German company of the same name.