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Monday, August 9, 2010

BSkyB Has Been Opposing The ‘Sky’ In ‘Skype’

Under a lengthy “risks” section in its IPO filing, Skype warns its trademark applications are being opposed in Europe and several other countries - in one case, by pay-TV platform bskyb (NYSE: BSY), which says it owns the mark for the “ Sky” in “ Skype”...

The judgement could mean Skype having to pay license fees to bskyb in order to go on using its name and logo here, Skype concedes.

News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). owns 39 percent of bskyb, which is one of the world’s most successful pay-TV operators, and has asked for clearance from European and UK antitrust authorities to buy the remainder.

bskyb owns Sky trademarks for a number of purposes. It has been opposing several Skype applications since 2006, records show.

Here’s the passage…

“In particular, in the European Union, India, Norway and Brazil, our applications in respect of the Skype name are being opposed by bskyb plc., a British satellite broadcaster, Internet service and telephony service provider, or by one of its affiliates. These oppositions are based on bskyb’s claimed rights with respect to the mark “ Sky.”

“To date, we have successfully defended these oppositions in Switzerland and Turkey and to date have received a positive decision in Brazil. However, on July 6, 2010, we received a negative first instance decision from the European Union trademark registry (OHIM) on bskyb’s opposition proceeding against the Skype bubble logo trademark application.

“We intend to appeal this decision by submitting a notice of appeal to the OHIM Board of Appeal, and if necessary to the General Court at the Court of Justice of the European Community.

“If these oppositions to our application for trademark registration are ultimately successful, it will be more difficult for us to prevent third parties from using the Skype brand without our permission, which may have a material adverse effect on our business. Moreover, a successful opposition to our application in one or more countries might encourage bskyb or other third parties to make additional oppositions or commence trademark infringement proceedings.

“In addition, if bskyb or other third parties were to pursue litigation to prevent our use of the Skype name or logo, defending against that litigation could be costly and time consuming even if we were ultimately to prevail. If we were not ultimately to prevail in any such litigation to prevent our use of the Skype name or logo, we could be precluded from using the Skype name or logo in one or more jurisdictions without obtaining a license from bskyb or such other third parties, which license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.”

The Name Inspector, a company name analyst blog, says this on the definition of Skype…

“On the Skype forum, an employee reveals that the name was derived from the expression Sky peer-to-peer...

“Some people might interpret Skype as a more conventional blend of Sky with something that rhymes with Skype, like hype–or pipe, ripe, type, wipe.”

Source: PaidContent

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