Engadget Mobile Threatened For Using T-Mobile's Trademarked Magenta

from the morons-in-a-hurry dept

We’ve certainly seen some dumb trademark lawsuit threats lately, but T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom’s supposed threats to Engadget may take the cake. It’s not that extraordinary for a company to trademark a distinct color that it uses in its logo, and that’s exactly what T-Mobile did last year with a trademark (in Germany only) on the color magenta. Now, it’s important to realize that this doesn’t mean T-Mobile “owns” that color or can forbid anyone else from using it. It really just means that competing providers offering similar goods and services might run into trouble for using the same color, potentially leading to consumer confusion. When this news broke, plenty of people got up in arms, suggesting that T-Mobile “owned” magenta, which just isn’t true. However, it does look like its lawyers think it gives them rights far beyond what it actually does.

According to Engadget, Deutsche Telekom lawyers have sent a nastygram to Engadget, because the blog uses magenta in the logo for its sister site, Engadget Mobile. Of course, it’s hard to believe that anyone would go to Engadget Mobile and believe it was somehow affiliated with T-Mobile. The logos are quite different, and the services they offer (obviously) are totally unrelated. In fact, this whole thing seemed so ridiculous that I assumed it was an April Fool’s joke — though the folks at Engadget insist it’s not. And, if you want icing on the cake, last year Engadget was one of a few sites that defended T-Mobile for its magenta trademark when it became news last year.

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Companies: deutsche telekom, t-mobile

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Comments on “Engadget Mobile Threatened For Using T-Mobile's Trademarked Magenta”

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12 Comments
Matt (profile) says:

Echo Chamber Over-reaction

Sheesh– did you guys even read the letter from T-Mobile? It wasn’t a cease and desist. It was bringing up their concern and asking Weblogs if they’d be willing to change the logo color. T-Mobile and Engadget MOBILE *are* similar in that they are both in the wireless space, although obviously not the same business.

I agree with the sentiment that Engadget Mobile needn’t change their logo color, but everyone is really over-reacting. I thought the letter was quite civil and professional. The Engadget (and blog) response, however, was childish.

Cygnus says:

Re: Echo Chamber Over-reaction

>>
>> but everyone is really over-reacting.
>>

Isn’t that the modus operandi of this site?

BTW, colors are subject to trademark protection. Because the letter does not reference a registration number, I doubt that T-Mobile has a registration for the color. However, if it does, confusion as to sponsorship would not be an incredible reach in this case.

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