Skype vs. Sky: what’s in a name?

Logo & Brand review

When I first heard about Skype, I was impressed to say the very least. Having already spent hundreds of dollars on long distance phone bills over the years, here was a new software that allowed me to chat with my friends and family for FREE. The fact that it was free was not the only thing that impressed me however. Skype also had real-time video. I could now talk to my mom as if we were in the same room. I was ecstatic. I felt like ‘this is it! We are now living in the future.’

That was seven years ago now. Skype has since grown to be one of the largest global  internet communications companies with over 124 million connected users. Success, however, doesn’t mean that you are immune to controversy. Recently, it has come to light that Skype has been involved in a five-year long legal battle over the rights to its name. Sky, a UK-based broadcasting company, has been challenging Skype and their bid to trademark their company’s name in the EU, Norway, India and Brazil. Sky has produced a controversial a study in which they claim that people are confused by the two companies logos and that they find them too similar.

Here are the Skype and Sky logos:

Skype Logo

Sky Logo

What do you think? Are you confused? Do you find them too similar?

Skype has won the challenges in Switzerland, Turkey and Brazil however, the EU trademark registry recently sided in favour of Sky. Skype intends to appeal the EU trademark registry’s decision.

Not being able to trademark their company name in the EU could posse a significant problem for Skype.  A company’s branding is such a valuable asset these days. If other companies around the world are able to use the Skype name without permission, this could lead to a lot of confusion amongst users and it could severely hurt Skype’s reputation. Furthermore, if Sky is to win the trademark battle, Skype will have to pay Sky a fortune just to be able to continue using the Skype name and logo. What a mess! It goes to show that even success comes with its own challenges.

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