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In the wake of the German grocery store that believes it owns the word "Metro", Rupert Murdoch's Sky Broadcasting is forcing Microsoft to change the name of its SkyDrive cloud service, because sky.

Microsoft is going to have to rename its SkyDrive cloud storage service after agreeing to submit to a British court's ruling over ownership of the brand name.

British Sky Broadcasting Group, the European satellite broadcasting arm of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, took on Redmond over the rights to the SkyDrive name, pointing out that BSkyB had got there in advance of Microsoft's marketing cohorts. In June, UK High Court Judge Sarah Asplin found against Microsoft, and Redmond has submitted to the verdict.

This is why we can't have nice things.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Any NSA comments = automatic FAIL (9+ / 0-)

    Yes, we know: NSA, because cloud. Shut up.

  •  I don't think these cases are that abusive. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Sue B

    The plaintiffs aren't squatting on those names, they're using them in "going concerns" and they can claim, at least sort of plausibly, that someone else using those names (from a standing start, when they could have chosen anything) would either cause confusion or freeload off their reputation.  Unlike patent trolling, nobody's stopping us from having nice things, they're merely stopping those things from having certain names.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 05:34:02 AM PDT

    •  Interesting. Stadium "skyboxes" can be renamed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marleycat, Dirtandiron

      ... to "Ruperts."

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 05:44:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that's my point, part of it anyway. (0+ / 0-)

        Sky didn't go after an existing business with that name, they went after a brand-new one.  Not that skybox is anyone's brand, but rather a generic product.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 06:10:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand, it's a trademark thing. (0+ / 0-)

          "SkyWatch" (astronomy) on my local NPR station can be renamed "RupeWatch".

          I just enjoy the concept of Rupertizing.

          "B Sky B" is not exactly the word "sky."

          Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

          by dadadata on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 02:13:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Lindows (7+ / 0-)

      Microsoft sued an upstart company that named their version of Linux Lindows. The U.S court ruled against Microsoft because 'windows' is a common word.

      Judge Coughenour ruled that once a word is generic it is always generic and therefore ineligible for trademark status.

      “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

      by se portland on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 06:42:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And maybe that's how we roll here. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jabney, se portland

        Clearly they don't roll that way in the UK!

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 07:12:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sky is certainly a generic word (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phenry, se portland
      •  I'm not familiar with that case (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        se portland

        But it misunderstands the term generic in the trademark context.

        Generic means generic in the class of goods or services, not in a general sense.

        The classic case is how the word Xerox came to mean copy machines.

        The word "Windows" or "Sky" in their respective classes are not generic.

        Imo of course.  

        •  Found the case (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          se portland

          and its holding seems to rely on this narrative:

          " According to the court, defendant “presented substantial evidence that, prior to the time that Microsoft first announced its Windows product, the consuming public understood ‘the windows’ or ‘window’ to refer to a type of GUI or operating system feature and today understands the terms to indicate software applications that are compatible with Microsoft Windows.”  Defendant’s evidence included widespread use of the term “windows” generically by the media, by competitors, by Microsoft, and in computer dictionaries, as well as testimony of a computer-industry expert. "

          I would have to see the evidence but I find this to be incorrect factually and legally.

          •  Sky vs Windows (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            se portland

            The original proposal for a graphics based interface was from the Xerox PARC labs in 1980. It was dubbed "WIMP" standing for Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer.

            The first version of a Microsoft product to feature such a graphic interface was in 1985. The use as a generic term in computing was therefore well established beforehand.

            Sky is almost synonymous with satellite TV viewing in the UK - something that annoys me intensely when the free to air "freesat" EPG service and the associated boxes are widely available. You may note the lower case F in that name - because Murdoch launched a spoiler free to air service using Sky boxes called "Freesat from Sky" which it copyrighted.

            It's PVR boxes are dubbed "Sky +" and to Sky+ is a verb used in the UK to describe recording a program - in much the same way to hoover or dyson is to vacuum clean.

            The Dirty Digger has also had two pieces of bad news today. First one of the advertisements for Sky's satellite service has been banned as misleading.

            The second is a bit more complex to explain and relates to real competition that Sky is facing from a new service using based around "YouView" hybrid terrestrial TV/IPTV boxes. One of the big telecoms provides promoting these as part of their new Broadband/phone/IPTV packages is BT which have gained the rights to about half of the English soccer league games. Previously these were exclusive to Sky.

            Now BT has made an agreement with Virginmedia, the main cable TV company, to market the BT Sports channels.

            We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

            by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 10:03:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What came first is not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              se portland

              the relevant metric for determining genericness - it s the perception of the relevant audience at the time of the determination.

              I submit that Windows was associated with Microsoft, not computing with the general puiblic, the relevant audience here.

              •  Perception?? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                se portland

                The "general public" still considered computers as the cabinets with flashing lights they saw on Star Trek. The relevant audience at the time was those involved with computing in one form or another who were well aware of Apple's first Macintosh and its GUI.

                We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

                by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 11:23:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  se portland

                  PCs are ubiquitous.

                  General public is relevant universe.

                  •  Er NO (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    se portland

                    We are talking about the start of the 1980s when IBM had only just released its IBM PC as an office machine. There it had a huge rival in the Apple II which was the de facto machine if you wanted to run spreadsheets. The IBM product was seen as a word processor and was still based on a command line.

                    The knowledge "general public" at the time did vary according to which side of the Atlantic but the release of the Sinclair ZX80 (marketed as a Timex in the USA) followed by the ZX81 and the Spectrum was the first mass market machine.

                    In the American market the Tandy machines were probably the most widely available for the public.

                    The simple fact is that Microsoft's attempts to copyright the name Windows did not meet the legal criteria for doing so.

                    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

                    by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 04:20:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  August 15, 2013 (5+ / 0-)

    RupertNet becomes self aware...

    Plangentarchy: dictatorship of the whiners

    by Perry the Imp on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 05:50:12 AM PDT

  •  Lucy in the Rupert with diamonds....nt (7+ / 0-)

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 05:57:14 AM PDT

  •  The Sky TV brand is pretty strong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cskendrick

    Murdoch had a good case imo.

  •  They should call it Olympic McDrive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phenry

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 06:50:12 AM PDT

  •  "Sky, sky, sky sky.... S K Y !!!!!!!!!!" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vahana

    So, sue me, Rupert!

    A**hole...

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:25:09 AM PDT

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