Pat Pilcher: Microsoft renames SkyDrive to OneDrive

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

In yet another example of patent and trademark related silliness, Microsoft is renaming its SkyDrive cloud storage service to OneDrive.

The move comes after a UK court found the "SkyDrive" brand infringed on a trademark owned by UK pay TV operator BSkyB. I personally wonder just why on earth a pay TV operator got their knickers in such a twist about a similar sounding name being used in a completely unrelated industry?

Equally of interest to BySkyB shareholders must be the question of what the legal bill for these shenanigans works out to, and if anyone beyond a bunch of corporate wonks in marketing and legal really gives a damn anyhow?

Last year, the UK Court found in favour of BSkyB, ruling that they hold the "Sky" trademark for matters of software and digital communications within the EU. Bizarrely the court also found Microsoft's SkyDrive could be confused with broadband internet and cloud-based services offered by BSkyB.

Trouble is if most Brits are smart enough to know that their set top box remote won't work with their PC, then why were the courts so utterly brain-dead about the matter, letting it escalate to the point where Microsoft had to embark on the massively costly undertaking of renaming SkyDrive?

Either way, Microsoft eventually signed a settlement with BSkyB, agreeing to replace the trademark worldwide following a reasonable period of time.

Microsoft also appears to be attempting to put a spin on the new brand as being one that represents the one place to store everything, rather than the outcome of a rather silly trademark battle where a pile of cash was no doubt burnt on the legal bonfire of intellectual property silliness and insecure executive egos.

So there you have it. We now have to call Microsoft's cloud storage product something else, a bunch of Pay TV execs pat each other on the back (because litigating instead of focusing on providing decent TV is clearly the future of pay TV) and the lawyers got even fatter. Makes you think doesn't it?

- NZ Herald

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