A U.K. court has ruled against Microsoft (MSFT) in a legal battle between the Redmond technology giant and British broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group. The court decided that Microsoft infringed on a trademark owned by BSkyB with the name of the SkyDrive cloud storage service, and now the technology giant will have to change the name of the service, at least in the United Kingdom.
The court decision by High Court Judge Justice Asplin came through in June, in which the judge noted that Microsoft's use of the SkyDrive name infringed on the Sky trademark. Effectively, that means Microsoft will have to change the name of the service within the United Kingdom, but Redmond hadn't planned to sit on its laurels and be forced into a name change. Microsoft had planned on filing an appeal in the English High Court, but according to the joint statement, the companies have come to a settlement that will allow Microsoft to temporarily use the SkyDrive name while it seeks out a suitable replacement name, ending any plans for an appeal.
At the very least, this will mean an eventual change of name to SkyDrive in the United Kingdom, if not the European Union. There's no question about that, unless Microsoft has plans to engage Sky in a long-term licensing arrangement (and no, there's no indication this is going to happen).
However, what this could mean for SkyDrive around the world is unknown. Will Microsoft be content to have its SkyDrive storage service available in every one of its markets except for a major European market? There's a certain logic in having a consistent brand in every market the Redmond company plays in, but if Microsoft plans to keep that brand consistent, it's going to have to go through a major endeavor in renaming SkyDrive on a global basis.
As The Independent noted, this is not the first time Sky has protected its trademark, even in recent memory. Last year, the broadcasting company protected its trademark against a U.S. manufacturer of the Sky pen. The pen was rebranded Livescribe.