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.