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Rupert Murdoch Claims To Own the 'Sky' In 'Skype' 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the mine-now-I-take-it dept.
Crudely_Indecent writes "Not content to own just news stories, Rupert Murdoch is now going after individual words! His BSkyB is fighting a legal battle with Skype, claiming that it owns the 'Sky' in 'Skype.' From the article: 'A spokesman for Sky confirmed that the company has been involved in a "five-year dispute with Skype" over trademark applications filed by the telecomms company. These are, the spokesman added: "including, but not limited to, television-related goods and services."'"
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Rupert Murdoch Claims To Own the 'Sky' In 'Skype'

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  • Hah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by sheehaje (240093) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:27AM (#33238142)

    Seems they own the word Douche in the word Douchebag too.

  • He's crazy right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tragek (772040) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:30AM (#33238168) Journal

    I thought trademarks were related to the possibility of accidental confusion. If Murdoch thinks the average person will confuse BSkyB and Skype, he must have the most horrendous opinion of the average person!

    • by teh kurisu (701097) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:43AM (#33238388) Homepage

      he must have the most horrendous opinion of the average person!

      The man behind The Sun and Fox News has a horrendous opinion of the average person?

      In other news, grass is green, *** is blue.

    • Re:He's crazy right? (Score:4, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:57AM (#33238654)
      That's one aspect, but in this case Sky is eponymous, sort of like Windows is. So MS could trademark Microsoft Windows XP, but not Windows. Sky by itself can't be trademarked as it already has a meaning which in this case is irrelevant because only a ham fisted fascist like Murdoch would actually even consider those to be confusing.
      • by yumyum (168683)

        Sky is eponymous

        I did not know that the sky outside was named after someone named Sky? Or were you thinking of another word instead of eponymous.

      • by binkzz (779594)

        That's one aspect, but in this case Sky is eponymous, sort of like Windows is. So MS could trademark Microsoft Windows XP, but not Windows. Sky by itself can't be trademarked as it already has a meaning which in this case is irrelevant because only a ham fisted fascist like Murdoch would actually even consider those to be confusing.

        Unfortunately, that's not true. Windows is trademarked and any application that uses the word Windows in it is asked to remove it or face charges. Point in case: Windows/Total Commander [ghisler.com].

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MBGMorden (803437)

          It's related to target industries. Windows is a trademark but that only applies to the computing industry. Microsoft could sue Novell if they came up with an OS called "Novell Windows", but they'd have a much harder time suing a glass cleaner named "Windows".

        • by dbIII (701233)
          How on earth did they pull that off given the prior naming of "X Windows"?
      • Did you forget about the Windows/Lindows lawsuit?

        • by hitmark (640295)

          well that was something else, as not only did they have a very similar name, but they had created a desktop theme that looked very similar to windows xp at first boot.

          basically, the company was gambling on being confused with microsofts products.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by orrs (1159689)
      apparently the E.U. thinks so. The courts ruled in his favor. http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/strategy/41108-skype-vs-sky-whats-in-a-name/ [itwire.com]
      • by Teun (17872)

        a recent ruling by the EU's Office for Harmonisation of Internal Markets saw Sky prevailing over Skype, with the latter's name and logo being judged too similar to Sky's..

        I assume it's mainly the logo, but this is something the EU parliament needs to keep a tag on.

        Skype intends to appeal.

        I hope so!

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      No he is not crazy. He is greedy. While insanity might bring you to heaven. This definitely goes in the opposite direction. ;-)

      However, he is the guy who owns Fox "News" and sky. So in general he has a massive media impact.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by randomsearch (1207102)

      > I thought trademarks were related to the possibility of accidental confusion. If Murdoch thinks the average person will confuse BSkyB and Skype, he must have the most horrendous opinion of the average person!

      You have clearly never watched his TV output.

    • by wall0159 (881759)
      If you've ever read/heard Murdoch's rants against the BBC (and other public broadcasters) it strongly supports the idea that he views the average person with utter contempt.
    • Re:He's crazy right? (Score:4, Informative)

      by sorak (246725) on Friday August 13, 2010 @01:23PM (#33242576)

      He also owns the company that sued Al Franken for "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right". It was laughed out of court because the title was obvious parody. I wonder if they don't have slightly different intentions. For example, I may lose the case, but you still have to pay legal fees, and devote time and resources to dealing both with the court battle and the public relations repercussions...OR...you can pay me to make this go away.

  • hey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ryanrule (1657199) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:32AM (#33238198)
    Whens he gonna die?
  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:32AM (#33238200) Journal

    take my land
    take me where I cannot stand
    I don't care
    I'm still free
    you can't take the sky from me

    (Sorry, it's the first thing that came to mind.....)

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      I really like firefly, but that intro is almost as bad as enterprise.

    • by russotto (537200)

      you can't take the sky from me

      Mal Reynolds, this court sentences you to life without parole in the lowest level of the Maximum Security Lunar Underground Penitentiary.

  • He employs Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, the entire Fox and Friends team; and blames the internet for the fail of Newscorp. Obviously he's an moron.

    • by mldi (1598123)
      Well, it's for that very reason (first part of your statement) that he's doing so well. Have you seen those ratings for those programs? It's unreal!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      He employs Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, the entire Fox and Friends team; and blames the internet for the fail of Newscorp. Obviously he's an moron.

      I don't care what he thinks(which is not much beyond making money). I do care what the hell he does as a non-trivial percentage of America follows his "news".

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:02AM (#33240138) Homepage

      Obviously he's an moron.

      The key thing to understand about him is that Rupert Murdoch and his businesses don't support conservative causes because they believe in conservatism, they support conservative causes because they improve Rupert Murdoch's profit margins. For instance, he doesn't give a damn about gay marriage, but is happy to stir up controversy over gay marriage so that Americans will vote in politicians who will cut taxes on Murdoch and Newscorp.

      • by StikyPad (445176) on Friday August 13, 2010 @12:26PM (#33241724) Homepage

        Sort of. Money is certainly an issue, but so is his conservative agenda. His "genius" is in turning a healthy profit by spreading his message, instead of *spending* money to do the same. Of course, that's not a completely new strategy; he just mastered it in the realm of television by hoisting a tabloid-style news channel under the banner of legitimate news. True, the FOX television network is (or was) known for its "racy" content relative to its competitors, but fun and games end where the news begins. The strategy of any network affiliate is to draw in viewers with the entertainment, then keep them around for the news. In the case of FOX, however, the local affiliates are more and more resembling syndicated broadcasters for the FOX News Channel. Outfoxed [outfoxed.org] has a fairly factual description, albeit presented in a rather hysterical fashion.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rickb928 (945187)

          "The strategy of any network affiliate is to draw in viewers with the entertainment, then keep them around for the news"

          When you can reliably show me the difference between 'news' and 'entertainment' on any of the popular networks, let me know how you did it.

          CNN, for instance, happily shows us features on Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, missing children wherever, remains of someone recently deceased that, disgraced persons walking out of/into jail, etc. The LEAST of their features are on substantive national iss

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)
      Fox News is the biggest cable news network in the United States. If Newscorp is failing or underperforming (I don't know if it is, but you imply such and I'll go with that) then it's almost certainly not due to Fox News in general or Beck and O'Reilly specifically.
  • by Manip (656104) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:38AM (#33238306)
    Isn't it interesting how the scope of Trademarks and IP law keep expanding. The original concept of a trademark was to make it difficult for the competition to pass their products off as your products, it had this concept of a "reasonable person" being confused between mark A and mark B. I think when we have companies protecting dictionary words and words containing other words that they happen to have trademarked it has gone far further than the original concept.

    I wonder how long until someone protects the letter 'a' and then requires a cash payment each time you use that letter in your trademark? I know that sounds like an insane concept but if you asked people about what is happening today with IP and trademarks they would have told you that was insane too!
  • Whenever someone invented the trademark to protect the rights of the inventor - did they ever think it was going to end up with cases like this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zeek40 (1017978)
      You're confusing trademarks with patents. Trademarks are to prevent people from fraudulently claiming to be affiliated with a business. For example, lets pretend you started a successful, well respected business named 'Haedrian's Home Improvements' and trademark the name. If I try to cash in on your success by setting up a similar business named "Haeadrian's Home Improvements" then you could sue me for trademark infringement. It's to prevent me from ruining your business's reputation by doing shitty wor
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Infringing a Trademark - Passing your product off as someone elses, or connected to someone elses

      Infringing Copyright - Copying a complete or partial work without the artists permission

      Infringing Patent - Using a design for an invention without paying the patentor

      Trademarks don't protect inventors they protect company image

      Copyright doesn't protect inventors, it protects artists works ...

      • Copyright doesn't protect inventors, it protects artists works ...

        Absolute RUBBISH! Copyrights protect the greedy multinational megacorps who squeeze "artists" for every breath they take and then rape any end-user who even *thinks* more than two consecutive notes from a tune.,br>,br>Seriously folks, get your facts straight before you post.

        .... and yes, before you all start WHINING, I do understand what copyrights are supposed to be protecting.

  • by kipling (24579) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:53AM (#33238582) Homepage

    Yes but he also owns the merde in Murdoch.

  • What a joke! That's about as silly as Apple claiming that it owns the 'i' prefix for electronics. That battle was already settled. At least in the U.S., anyway.
  • This story increases my suspicion that Murdoch has a William Randolph Hearst fixation.

  • Fox in Firefox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xouumalperxe (815707) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:04AM (#33238802)
    What next? Saying he owns the fox in firefox?
  • take that self aggrandizing pompous ass down a notch or two.
  • ...if Roopfert has a trademark on eating a bowl of dicks yet? Because I seriously plan on suggesting that he do exactly that.

  • Sure, Murdoch owns the "sky" in Skype, but you're not reporting on the fact that Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his "we sue over any use of the word 'easy'" wanna-be Virgin operation have laid claim to the "e" in Skype. That just leaves the "p", which, obviously, already belongs to Sean "P Diddy" Combs. But not to worry, the former Skype will be able to Trademark the null set, which is an extraordinarily powerful identity...
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      That just leaves the "p", which, obviously, already belongs to Sean "P Diddy" Combs.

      Ken Dodd [youtube.com] had the "Diddy" long before that f***wit did. BTW, the linked mashup is horrible, but anything that makes that tit Combs look stupid (besides himself) is okay by me. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:25AM (#33239200)

    So if Murdoch wins this, will he set a precedent that allows KY Jelly to sue him for the KY in SKY?

    After all, it might create confusion in the market, seeing as how they are both in the business of fucking you in the arse.

  • I will create a company called "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwyz0123456789", and will by default own copyrights to ALL english-based written communications!
  • Get me a dictionary and a cheap lawyer, so I can register all natural language words as brands, including their use as a prefix for another word. Can be costly, but I think I win in the end.

  • by ITBurnout (1845712)
    I own the "ass" in Fox Classics. So there.
  • Can someone please get a grip of this man and remind him he is just a media mogul from Down Under, and isn't that dang important, or newsworthy. Somehow it smacks of self-perpetuating motion for a media baron to attract so much media attention.
  • Some muscle-bound guy in tights with a big 'S' on his chest has first dibs.
  • My 2 Yen.

    Murdoch is a complete whack job and a fruitcake.

    Unfortunately he also has power and influence, without which he would be ignored like the rest of the nut jobs.
  • by Normal Dan (1053064) on Friday August 13, 2010 @01:45PM (#33242926)
    I would use the candid camera defense. The idea is, this lawsuit is so ridiculous we must be on candid camera. Everyone involved would break out laughing saying "Oh, I get it!" and "OK, where are the cameras?" Then everyone on our side would proceed to believe it was a joke and not take anything Rupert's lawyers say seriously, etc.

    Then again, there's probably a good reason I'm not a lawyer.
  • This seems like sensationalists journalism by /. because at no point does it say Rupert Murdoch is involved in this more so than the janitor of the company. I love /. (thanks for the free $40K from the va linux ipo) but appreciate facts over someones opinion. If anything, BSkyB should be kicking itself for picking such a ridiculous name. Seems like the dispute is over the ticker symbol here by a company that Rupert owns...is that really newsworthy front page material?
    • buttinsky
    • pesky
    • risky
    • skyjacking
    • skydive
  • in asshole

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