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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Jake, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 3:23pm

    Jeremy called it!

    Check out the link.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Eric the Grey, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 4:03pm


    Their comparison chart is a riot, but perhaps it just might prevent those few confused people from mistaking one from the other.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Hidden Force, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 5:07pm

    Color Tit-for-Tat

    Perhaps EngadgetHD should respond by sending a nastygram to Deutche Telekom demanding that T-Mobile stop using the color gray in their logo because EngadgetHD already uses that color in *their* logo.

    What the heck? It makes as much sense as DT's nastygram.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 5:17pm

    Using HTML notation from each company's respective websites.

    Engadget: #ed008c
    T-Mobile: #e10370

    They are totally different colours. This threat is completely unfounded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    JK, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 5:43pm

    What's next?

    Is McDonalds going make the smell of hamburgers its trademark?
    What's the hex notation for that?? #293aea23??

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Matt, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 5:36am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jake, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 6:45am

    Re: Echo Chamber Over-reaction

    Actually, in all fairness to T-Mobile, I have met people capable of making that kind of mistake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Cygnus, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 7:15am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Bryan L., Apr 1st, 2008 @ 7:52am

    They should sue printer manufacturers for aiding and abiding unlawful use of their color. That's where the real money is!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    William Jackson, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 10:27am

    engadget's response

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Bawb, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    I'm betting on some April tomfoolery. Take the "This isn't an April fool's joke for reals" lightly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    conor, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 5:03pm

    Deutsche Bags...

    Deutsche Bags...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.