We’re all for intellectual property, but this is ridiculous.
It recently came to light that Sky, a British television network owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (Stock Quote: NWS), filed a lawsuit against Skype, a popular service that lets users make calls over the Internet. The lawsuit accuses Skype of trademark violation for--drum roll, please--using the word “sky” in their name.
“The key contention in the dispute is that the brands 'Sky' and 'Skype' will be considered confusingly similar by members of the public,” a spokesperson for Sky told The Telegraph.
Now let that sink in for a minute. It would be one thing if Yahoo sued some company called Yahoope, but sky is a very common word.
Yet despite that, Sky actually won the lawsuit—well, at least initially. According to The Telegraph, “Last month, Sky's case for ‘trademark infringement’ was upheld by the European Union's Office for Harmonisation of Internal Markets (OHIM), which ruled that Skype's trademark and its famous blue bubble logo were too similar to Sky's name and branding.”
Skype is currently appealing the verdict.
This is far from the only bizarre trademark dispute this year —or even this month. ABC News reports that a small bakery in Salt Lake City called My Dough Girl has been forced to change its name after the owner received an angry letter from General Mills (Stock Quote: GIS), claiming that it was too similar to Pillsbury’s mascot, the dough boy.
And earlier this year, Subway reportedly tried to prevent other restaurants from using the word “footlong” to describe food on their menu, claiming the sub shop has a trademark on the word.