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Dispute between Newscorp, Reliance over trademark

14-July-2005
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Dispute between Newscorp, Reliance over trademark

In a dispute over trademark, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Newscorp is understood to have taken objection to Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises' using the word `Sky' in its direct-to-home (DTH) venture which has been christened as Reliance Skymagic. Newscorp has claimed that Sky is registered trademark of BSkyB.

While it could not be ascertained whether a notice has been sent to Reliance or not, sources said that the broadcaster is concerned about the issue. The Anil Ambani group had only recently applied for a DTH licence under this brand name.

When contacted, officials at T-Sky, (the joint venture between the Tata Group and Newscorp) said that BSkyB has licensed the `Sky' trademark to this venture. Officials at Reliance too did not wish to comment on the issue.

Early last week, a caution notice was issued by the British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) Group Plc, UK, and BSkyB Ltd, in India claiming that they were proprietors and adopters of the well-known trademarks Sky, Sky News, Sky Sports and Sky Radio. "The trademark SKY is also registered in India in Classes 9 and 16 under the provisions of the Trademarks Act, 1999," it said.

The DTH market is getting crowded with four players - the Subhash Chandra-promoted Dish TV, Prasar Bharati's DD Direct, Sun Direct and T-Sky - already in the fray. With Reliance and BPCL also interested in the business, India would be a unique market with several operators. Internationally, this is restricted to just one or two players depending on the size of the market.

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