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Judge nixes Microsoft SkyDrive name in BSkyB court ruling

'Sky', 'cloud'... it just confuses people, reckons beak

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BSkyB has won a legal case against Microsoft in the UK and EU over its use of the name "SkyDrive" for its cloud storage service.

British judge Sarah Asplin, sitting in the chancery division of Blighty's High Court, ruled that the evidence in the case "revealed confusion amongst real people" about the SkyDrive service, including members of the public calling Sky's helpline about difficulties they were having with Microsoft's product.

Redmond tried to argue that the term "sky" was descriptive in that it related to clouds and therefore to cloud storage, but the results of a survey conducted in 2010 only had 20 per cent of responses that could be "characterised as containing a recognition of some kind of allusion to cloud storage", despite the fact that the first question in the study linked the term SkyDrive to the relevant services.

"Putting aside the doubts as to the probative value of the survey in the first place and the suggestive nature of the first question, I consider such a level of response to be insufficient," the judge said in her ruling.

Mrs Justice Asplin found that Microsoft infringed on the "Sky" trademark, but has yet to decide whether the remedy will be a fine for the firm or a change to the name of its cloud storage service, or both.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the company planned to appeal the decision.

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

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