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Sky and skype

The General Court of European Union (T-423/12, T-183/13 and T-184/13) confirms that there exists a likelihood of confusion between the figurative and word sign SKYPE and the word mark SKY
In 2004 and 2005 Skype applied to the OHIM for registration of the figurative and word signs SKYPE as a Community trade mark for audiovisual goods, telephony and photography goods and computer services relating to software or to the creation or hosting of websites. The oppositions filed by British Sky Broadcasting Group, now Sky plc and Sky IP International pleading the likelihood of confusion with the in 2003 filed word mark Sky for identical goods and services were upheld by OHIM considering the particular degree of visual, phonetic and conceptual similarity. Skype brought an action before the General Court for the annulment of those decisions. In its judgment, the General Court confirmed that the pronunciation of the vowel ‘y’ is no shorter in the word ‘skype’ than it is in the word ‘sky’ and the element ‘sky’ in the word ‘skype’ can perfectly well be identified by the relevant public, even if the remaining element ‘pe’ has no specific meaning. Conceptually, the figurative element present in the mark ‘skype’ (a cloud) would further increase the likelihood of the element ‘sky’ and readily be associated with this word.

Natale Rampazzo

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