No Magenta for You! T-Mobile Sees Red Over Magenta

tmobile vs. engadgetLast week Deutsche Telekom, owners of the global T-Mobile brand, sent the website Engadget a late birthday present: a hand-delivered letter direct from their German legal department, requesting the prompt discontinuation of the use of the color magenta on Engadget Mobile. However, rather than gaining cooperation, T-Mobile has generated a host of unintended consequences.

Engadget promptly posted the threatening legal letter, which inspired other websites to temporarily add magenta to their logos in solidarity.  T-Mobile spokespeople backed away from the letter, suggesting it was just their way of opening a dialogue.

 Then, emboldened Engadget tweaked T-Mobile by modifying the logo in question to show what they could do if they really intended to infringe.

T-Mobile’s legal firm didn’t expect this!

Berkman’s Citizen Media Law Project has the whole story.

While this tactic seems overly aggressive, or just downright stupid, there is a possible cultural difference in play. As I recall, Europe allows “colour registration,” which may have given T-Mobile’s legal team the impression that they could simply claim rights to magenta in the tech space globally. Clearly, in this case, they should not have tried to do that.

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