Aio Wireless – an AT&T subsidiary – caused something of a stir a few months back when it started using what it called “plum” coloring to market itself. Although the difference between “plum” and magenta are there, it wasn’t a distinctive enough difference, and could’ve harmed Tmo’s brand image. And, although using a similar color to someone else isn’t a crime generally, with Tmo, Magenta is such a huge part of its identity, that for anyone else to use it (or anything like it) was quite audacious.
T-Mobile filed an infringement lawsuit against AT&T and Aio Wireless back in August 2013.
You’ll be glad to know that today, an announcement has been made, and the Federal Court has ruled that AT&T should stop willfully infringing on T-Mobile’s trademark. The decision was made after a three-day hearing:
“A federal court has halted AT&T’s transparent effort to infringe on T-Mobile’s distinctive magenta trademark. T-Mobile [U.S. Inc.] is very pleased that the federal court in Texas has ordered Aio Wireless, a subsidiary of AT&T, to stop infringing T-Mobile’s magenta trademark. The court agreed with us that Aio can’t continue infringing T-Mobile’s magenta mark by using large blocks of what it has called “plum,” and told Aio to stop using magenta or similar colors in all of its marketing and advertising, including stores, web sites and social media. The Court’s ruling, coming after extensive argument and a three-day hearing, validates T-Mobile’s position that wireless customers identify T-Mobile with magenta and that T-Mobile’s use of magenta is protected by trademark law.”
This is a small, but important, victory for T-Mobile. In the current market space, and with the moves it’s made over the past 12 months, it’s clear that the company has to protect its trademarks, its brand image and all that goes along with that. Magenta is T-Mobile (and perhaps any shade of pink or purple for that matter).
Perhaps if Randall Stephenson starts walking around with long hair, leather jacket and a pink/black t-shirt we can expect another lawsuit…