No Man's Sky Settles With Sky TV So It Can Have 'Sky' In Its Name
from the the-limit dept
As you may or may not be aware, Sky TV is a European cable television network owned by Rupert Murdoch. Sky TV is also a company that has trademarked the word “sky” and enjoys bludgeoning anyone who uses the word “sky” in business into the ground. This has resulted in exceptionally silly disputes, such as Sky TV suing Skype, despite there being not a lick of competition between a messaging/calling system and television.
This past week, gaming enthusiasts learned that the much anticipated open universe space exploration game No Man’s Sky had been battling with Sky TV over the inclusion of the word “sky” in its title. This case of trademark bullying can act as a wonderful barometer, because if you don’t think this is ridiculous, then you are ridiculous.
Did you think that the highly anticipated, procedurally generated space exploration game No Man’s Sky was in any way related to British telecommunications and broadcasting giant Sky? Of course you didn’t. But it apparently took the legal system three years to come to the same conclusion.
That’s according to Sean Murray, managing director of No Man’s Sky maker Hello Games. Over the weekend, Murray tweeted that the company had settled a legal dispute with Sky over the game’s name after “3 years of secret stupid legal nonsense.” In a follow-up tweet, he added that “this is the same folks who made Microsoft change Skydrive to Onedrive… so it was pretty serious.”
It is indeed serious for a number of reasons. First, that the legal system is such that a large megalith can carry on a 3 year trademark campaign against a much smaller company over the use of a common word in a game title that in no way is connected to the former’s business interests serves as a wonderful example of how perverted trademark law has become from its original purpose. Second, that the USPTO could approve a trademark on this kind of common word without doing so narrowly enough that any claim from Sky TV like this would be immediately laughed out of court and result in the censure of the company’s lawyers should give you some idea of the headwinds the original purpose of trademark faces at the level of the government. Keep in mind that this dispute was settled, rather than being concluded. And that’s after 3 years. Over the word “sky.” Come on now.
And, finally, lest you think this whole thing amounts to an annoyance, there are very real business consequences for Hello Games.
No Man’s Sky was recently delayed from a planned June 21 launch to August 9, leaving many wondering what was troubling the game’s development at this late stage. A legal battle that would have required a last-minute name change would certainly fit the bill for such a delay, though we can’t know for sure if this was the cause at this point.
Yes, we don’t know for sure, but the timing makes sense and the clearly annoyed developer tweeting this out in this way would indicate that this was an issue affecting the launch in some way. So Hello Games has its game delayed over a stupid lawsuit over a common word that somehow took three years to settle. Trademark bullying works.