An EU court has ruled that similarities between the Skype and Sky logos mean there is a “likelihood” the two will be confused.
The decision by the General Court of the European Union means that Skype is unable to register its logo as a trademark.
Skype has been trying to register its identity as a trademark since 2004, but has been opposed by Sky, which claims that there is a “likelihood of confusion” between the two marks. The EU Court has now upheld Sky’s position.
In its ruling, the court noted similarities between the pronunciations of the words Skype and Sky and added that the Skype logo design did little to distinguish the two words from each other.
In a statement, the court said: “The fact that, in the figurative sign applied for, the word element ‘skype’ is surrounded by a jagged border in the shape of a cloud or a bubble does not affect the average degree of visual, phonetic and conceptual similarity.
“Visually, the figurative element does no more than highlight the word element and is, therefore, perceived as a mere border.”
A spokesperson for Sky says: “Sky notes today’s decision from the General Court of the European Union. This relates to a long-running dispute with Skype over the extension of its trademark applications to cover a broad range of goods and services that overlap with Sky’s own trademark registrations (including, but not limited to, TV related products and services).
“Our intention has been to protect the Sky brand with our research showing that similarities in name and logo have the potential to confuse customers.”
Skype is reportedly planning to appeal the decision and has the option of bringing an appeal to the European Court of Justice.