skydriveIn a major change for one of Microsoft’s key online services, the company will rename its SkyDrive cloud storage service as a result of a trademark settlement announced this morning with British Sky Broadcasting, after losing a court case in the European Union.

Microsoft isn’t commenting beyond an official announcement (below), but the change appears to apply globally. The companies say the settlement “will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand.”

No word on specific timing, or the new name. SkyDrive has taken on added significance in recent months with tighter integration as the default storage mechanism in Windows 8.1.

[Follow-up: BallmerDrive, LiveDrive, MetroDrive: What should Microsoft rename SkyDrive?]

Here’s the full text of the news release announcing the settlement.

British Sky Broadcasting and Microsoft Reach Settlement in Trade Mark Case

Sky allows Microsoft temporary use of SkyDrive name during transition period following trade mark infringement judgement – while Microsoft agree to forego planned appeal

British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (“Sky”) and Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) have today announced the settlement of trade mark infringement proceedings in the European Union brought by Sky against Microsoft in the English High Court. The settlement of this case reflects the desire of both companies to focus on joint projects to benefit their customers.

In June, High Court Judge Mrs Justice Asplin issued a judgment holding that Microsoft’s use of the name SkyDrive infringed Sky’s rights in the ‘Sky’ mark.

According to the settlement, Microsoft will not pursue its planned appeal of this decision and Sky will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand. The agreement also contains financial and other terms, the details of which are confidential.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement after Microsoft agreed not to appeal the trade mark infringement judgment in relation to its SkyDrive service,” said Sky. “We will remain vigilant in protecting the Sky brand and will continue to take appropriate action against those companies who seek to use our trade mark without consent.”

Microsoft said, “We’re glad to have resolution of this naming dispute, and will continue to deliver the great service our hundreds of millions of customers expect, providing the best way to always have your files with you.”

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  • Guest

    Brilliant. This is so full of win. How much will this cost them.

    Get ready for the mandatory Windows 8.2 upgrade to eradicated all mention of “Sky”. Right up there with the DOS 6.1 upgrade: a hassle for customers because they can’t get their legal house in order.

  • Harkonnen

    European court sides with commonwealth plaintiff. No surprise but a dumb ruling.

  • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

    Reading the next post on GeekWire, the obvious choice for a new name is “Drive with Friends”.

  • Ryan Parrish

    This is pretty lame, just don’t let the branding geniuses name it WindowsLiveOutlookDriveUltimateEditionR2SP1

  • Patrick Husting

    Wow, “SKY” is a trademark. So lame…

    • Christian Severt

      “Windows” and “Apple” are trademarks too.. Also stupid.

  • Michael Hazell

    Wow. Stupid Europeans.

  • Rumin8

    No new name yet. Obviously it can’t have Sky in it. How about StratoDrive? MyDrive? StarDrive? Oops! Now someone will rush out and trademark them! In fact probably people are trying to trademark every name they can think of, so Microsoft will have to pay for the name.

  • Jason Farris

    I’d vote OneDrive but there’s a jet propulsion company with a engine design by that name. It’s niche enough that it could fly.

    • Johansen Peralta

      WOW so much win in this post they named it OneDrive, how did you know that was going to happen?

      • Jason Farris

        Whoa! Awesome.

  • Guest

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t MS have a huge legal department? And isn’t one of their jobs meant to be determining what legal issues a particular product name might generate? How did this miss this one? Does a week go by in which MS doesn’t fu*kup in some extraordinary way? Seriously, these guys are the Lindsay Lohan of technology.

  • Grrtime

    Time to move to Google….

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