Sky name at center of dispute

BERLIN — Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB has asked a Berlin district court for a temporary injunction against pay-TV operator Premiere’s new satellite platform Premiere Sky, arguing that it violates BSkyB’s trademark protection.

While Premiere’s legal footing looks weak, the broadcaster is expected to argue that “sky” is a general term that cannot be protected by trademark law when the parties meet in court this week.

Local observers, however, reckon a new name for Premiere’s satellite platform is in the works.

Despite its legal problems, Premiere Sky on Monday announced its first major deal following its recent launch: Turner Broadcasting System has become the first channel group to sign up with the platform.

Premiere Sky will carry Turner outlets Boomerang, Cartoon Network and Turner Movie Classics.

The three channels are already available in Germany via digital cable, but Premiere Sky managing director Wolfram Winter said the agreement “illustrates that there is still a large demand among established broadcasters for satellite distribution.”

Premiere Sky will initially include some 20 pay-TV channels.

Premiere estimates that it will sign up around one million customers for the new offering by 2010.

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