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Sorry T-Mobile, Other Companies Can Use The Color Magenta

from the trademark-isn't-ownership dept

A while back T-Mobile received a trademark on the color magenta for use in selling mobile phone services in certain markets, but it seems to be taking the trademark a little more seriously than it should, even to the point of threatening the blog Engadget for having a magenta-colored logo. It also took mobile operator Telia to court in Denmark for its own use of a magenta logo, but missed out on a couple of important facts: Telia and T-Mobile don’t compete in the same markets in Denmark and (more importantly) Telia’s magenta is a different shade of Magenta. The court has not just tossed out the lawsuit, but has dumped the court costs and Telia’s legal fees onto T-Mobile’s bill. Hopefully that will teach them that trademark law shouldn’t be abused.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: t-mobile, telia

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Comments on “Sorry T-Mobile, Other Companies Can Use The Color Magenta”

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Annonymous says:

Re: Really?

Since always – believe it or not… The shade of BLUE that the NYPD USE TO OWN, for their cars could not be copied – car companies are(were) not allowed to paint a single car that color… Lately, NYC has changed colors and now the blue is merely a stripe on a white car…
UPS BROWN – They claim that if the shade of brown can be copied – people will fall victim to fraud as well as robberies… There are a few more color copyrights… but these came to mind…


Bob Bobbers says:

Re: Hey!!

I reviewed your patent, because I own a similiar one. Your patent is limited to using black with Arial text. You used my black text patent to show your improvement. Mine was black text using Chinese characters and english characters. So you only get money when they use Arial. so technically they owe me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Except they didnt trademark a color, they trademarked a specific color for a specific type of product in specific areas.

If I want to make T-Mobile magenta lawn tractors, or open a cell phone company whose logo is John Deere green I can.

Also – color might be subjective, but you will see all products with T-Mobile magenta the same, regardless of whether you and I see it the same.

www.custompcmax.com (user link) says:

This is unbelievable that a company would actually try to sue for this sort of thing. Especially when the people they are suing are in completely different markets. I am sure I can find a store/company that uses a very similar color green that John Deer uses, yet they don’t sue for that sort of thing. It would be a feasable arguement if the companies they were suing were other cell phone companies that used the same exact color AND a similar design. Way to go T-Mobile… show us your true colors. They say any publicity is good publicity… BUt, I don’t think that is the case here. It shows you are a greedy and ruthless company, and most informed people try to stay away from that. Good luck to you! LOL

MLS (profile) says:


Just to be accurate, T-Mobile has not obtained a trademark on a color. What it has registered is a logo in which one of its constituent elements happens to be magenta in color. Even a novice practicing trademark law knew that T-Mobile was on the losing side of an argument.

By the way, there are a few trademarks limited to color, but those are almost impossible to secure and require compelling evidence that the color is intimately ingrained in the minds of ordinary consumers for the goods with which the color is used that consumer confusion is likely as to the source of the goods. Perhaps the best known is the one held by Owens-Corning for insulation that is colored pink. Like I said, these are quite rare and generally quite limited in scope.

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