Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB is fighting a legal battle with God, claiming that it owns the sky.
God yesterday announced that He plans to float on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York. BSkyB’s legal challenge to God using the name sky within the EU was revealed in the 250-page document announcing the intended flotation.
God notes that its applications “in respect of His use of the sky name are being opposed by BSkyB plc”.
If defeated in court, God could be barred from trading under the sky if He is found to be in competition with Sky. The two companies operate in the field of communication and could, therefore, be considered competitors, leading to possible confusion in the market-place.
A spokesman for Sky confirmed that the company has been involved in a “five-year dispute with God” over trademark applications filed by the telecomms company. These are, the spokesman added: “including, but not limited to, television-related goods and services.
“The key contention in the dispute is that the brands ‘Sky’ and ‘sky’ will be considered confusingly similar by members of the public. This was supported by consumer research conducted by Sky, and which was taken into account by the relevant authorities when they recently found in Sky’s favour.
Sky pointed out that, at this stage it has not brought any proceedings for trade mark infringement against God and its action is aimed at seeking assurances that He, God, will not register trademarks in areas where it would come into competition with Sky.
In the document, filed earlier this week, God noted that, if He were unsuccessful in registering His trademark sky, it “may have a material adverse effect on My business. Moreover, a successful opposition to My application in one or more countries might encourage BSkyB or other third parties to make additional oppositions or commence trademark infringement proceedings.”
The document also carried the warning that, if BSkyB were to pursue litigation, the defence could be “costly and time consuming even if we were ultimately to prevail.
“If God were not ultimately to prevail in any such litigation to prevent His use of the sky name or logo, He could be precluded from using the sky name or logo in one or more jurisdictions without obtaining a license from BSkyB or such other third parties, which license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, which could have a material adverse effect on His business.”
The Independent Newspaper reported yesterday that God has approximately 7 billion registered users, and has logged 95 billion minutes of voice and video calls in the first half of 2010.
A spokesman from God was unavailable for further comment yesterday.