Tmobile News Update: Tmobile Sues Aio

The battle of magenta

Tmobile news update: The telecommunications company have taken their America-based pre-paid supplier rivals to court over the use of the colour magenta.

Aio are owned by the massive company AT&T and have come under fire from Tmobile in the UK as they have used the colour magenta in their displays indicating the number of customers they have where in the US. Tmobile have argued that this usage could cause “trademark dilution” i.e. customers might get confused with which company is offering what and to whom.

Parent company to Tmobile, Deutsche Telekom, have stepped in and started proceedings in a Texas court on the basis of trademark dilution and infringement. They have argued that the use of the colour is specific to Tmobile and therefore is part of their trademark image – no other company is welcome to mimic that without accepting the consequences. This is much like Orange are indeed orange, O2 are blue and so on.

In 2013, Tmobile launched a campaign wherein the customer was no longer tied into a two year contract and in the same year AT&T launched Aio, a subsidiary of their own company and looking to offer the same format, no-contract wireless services and chose magenta to promote themselves. Tmobile are arguing that of all the colours in the world, why choose magenta?

Tmobile News Update

For examples of the extent to which Tmobile use the colour to promote their brand you do not have to look far – during a three year advertising campaign, Tmobile used a character named “Carly” who wore a magenta dress at first and then a black jumpsuit with magenta markings, reinforcing how integral the colour is to their advertising. Additionally, Tmobile use the colour to articulate their service coverage and replaced a red carpet with a magenta one during their association with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Deutsche Telekom have been using magenta as their trademark colour for more than ten years now in the US and around 20 years throughout Europe so they do see the colour as a cornerstone of their identity. They are globally recognised because of the colour so their argument stems from this perspective, particularly with the ownership of several trademarks all of which use magenta and in fact Tmobile USA is one of these trademarks.

The colours are admittedly similar but to the same token are perhaps not as similar as Tmobile would like the world to believe. It could be thought that Tmobile are finding a reason to kick back at the launch of a rival company offering a very similar package.

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