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European court: Skype's name too similar to Britain's Sky broadcasting

The judgment prevents Microsoft from trademarking the Skype name and logo in Europe.

For second time in less than two years, Microsoft has lost a court case with Sky. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft has lost another round in its battle with the UK broadcasting company Sky to use the name Skype.

A European court ruled Tuesday that Microsoft cannot trademark Skype, its popular Internet-calling service, in Europe because its name and logo is too similar to Sky, which was known as the British Sky Broadcasting Group when litigation began 10 years ago. Sky is the UK's largest subscription TV company, and operates in other European companies including Germany and Italy.

"The Court has dismissed Skype's actions and by doing so confirmed that there exists a likelihood of confusion between the figurative and word sign SKYPE and the word mark SKY," said a press release from the General Court of the European Union.

Microsoft will likely contest the ruling, according to a company statement released Tuesday.

"We're confident no confusion exists between these brands and services and will appeal," the statement said. "This decision does not require us to alter product names in any way."

It's the second time in less than two years Microsoft has lost a court case with Sky. A British court ruled in July 2013 that Microsoft's SkyDrive, a cloud-based storage service, was infringing on a trademark owned by Sky Broadcasting. Microsoft renamed the cloud service OneDrive in early 2014.

Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011, was founded in 2003 and headquartered in Luxembourg in western Europe. While Skype is trademarked in the US, the company's battle with Sky in Europe dates back more than a decade. The broadcaster has long claimed Skype's branding was too similar to its brand.

"Our intention has been to protect the Sky brand with our research showing that similarities in name and logo have the potential to confuse customers," Sky said in a statement.