Microsoft to axe SkyDrive name in wake of BSkyB court battle

Microsoft Skydrive

Microsoft is to drop the name SkyDrive for its cloud storage service, following a ruling in the England and Wales High Court that found it in breach of broadcaster BSkyB's (Sky's) copyright.

On 28 June, Mrs Justice Asplin ruled the SkyDrive name could be confusing for customers and as such found in favour of Sky's claim that the use of the name SkyDrive amounted to passing off and infringed on two registered Community trademarks.

In the immediate aftermath of the ruling Microsoft said it would appeal the decision. However, it appears the company has reversed this decision and will instead change the name of the product.

BSkyB has said it will allow Microsoft to continue to use the SkyDrive name "for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand".

The agreement between the two companies also contains financial and other terms, but the details are confidential and will not be revealed to the public.

This is not the first time Microsoft has been forced to change a product name due to trademark conflicts within the European Union.

Almost exactly a year ago, the company dropped the "Metro" brand, which was used to describe the tile-based user interface of Windows 8 and Windows RT, after it was found to infringe the copyright of German company Metro AG. It was renamed Modern UI.

In a statement, Microsoft said: "We're glad to have resolution of this naming dispute, and will continue to deliver the great service our hundreds of millions of customers expect, providing the best way to always have your files with you."

A Sky spokesperson said: "We are pleased to have reached a settlement after Microsoft agreed not to appeal the trade mark infringement judgment in relation to its SkyDrive service.

"We will remain vigilant in protecting the Sky brand and will continue to take appropriate action against those companies who seek to use our trade mark without consent."

IT Pro asked both companies how long the "reasonable period" of transition is expected to last and what the SkyDrive service is likely to be called subsequently.

Microsoft declined to comment beyond its prepared statement and, at the time of publication, no response had been received from Sky.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.