Beware! T-Mobile Owns the Color Magenta

Beware! T-Mobile Owns the Color Magenta


I'm not sure I fully understand... should that have been written the color "Magenta™"? The absurdity is probably confusing to you as well. The total hue domination by T-Mobile and its bigger Deutsche Telekom (DT) has been going on for several years, but has gained more attention lately. DT not only trademarked magenta, they also have a trademark on the use of their two 2 color logo... More can be read at servicemarks.

Don't worry trademarks only apply to the industry sector that they are registered under and since DT applied for their trademark in the tele-communications sector you just can't use the color magenta around anything to do with phones, digital media... oh and just about anything on the internet.

Here is a screenshot of the T-Mobile USA website with their trademark highlighted:
T-Mobile Trademarks the Color Magenta
 
 
I found some legal text outlining the details of the DT claim of the color magenta

The plaintiff, Deutsche Telekom AG, which uses the colour "magenta" for designating its services and in its advertisements and/or commercials, has been the owner of the colour mark No. 395 52 630 "magenta" (RAL 4010) since September 12, 2000 which was registered on the basis of a proven secondary meaning (i. a. for goods and services in the field of tele-communications). Furthermore, the plaintiff is also the proprietor of Community colour mark "magenta" registered on August 3, 2000.
- VIA WUESTHOFF & WUESTHOFF

 
 
I also found an older article from 2001 where DT was suing a On-Demand book publisher for using magenta in an ad campaign.

To promote their service, my-favorite-book launched an advertising campaign in May. Its advertisements in German magazines and newspapers came in different colors - green, blue, orange, grey, yellow and magenta. It was the last one that didn't go down well with Deutsche Telekom, nicknamed "the pink giant" because of its use of the color in Germany. "We have registered the color of magenta as a trademark in the telecom and online services sector," Telekom spokesman Peter Kespohl says. "We have to go after infringers to protect this trademark." Utz Karpenstein, spokesman for my-favorite-book, thinks this is odd. "So if Deutsche Post would register its postal yellow as a trademark, nobody could use yellow anymore? The world would get pretty gray if everybody did that."
- VIA 2001 Article from TheStandard.com

 
 
Share your thoughts about this and help reclaim magenta here.
 
 

Some Magenta Color Palette Inspiration

*Only use as inspiration for projects not created in the "tele-communications" sector.

CMYK Spinning Plates

Love Song SoftLightes

Love/Hate magenta ramp

The Boutique Little Girls

lack of smack CMYK's friend
 
 
...I wonder if my friends over at Red Interactive Agency know they could be the proud trademark owners of the color red... Boy!, think about all the other companies they could sue... the Red Cross, Project Red, Santa Clause...


Related Articles

54 Comments
Showing 1 - 30 of 54 Comments

vredeling

We had a small discussion on this in the forum. As said, a couple of Dutch companies were sued for using the colour magenta. Pretty rediculous if you ask me. But if they registered say: #ED007E

T-mobile Sucks

, is it then ok to use #ED007F?

lizcrimson

and i added this link, which discusses ownership of hues. kind of interesting.
who owns hues?

lizcrimson

Here's another case where a Toledo company, Owens Corning, has a trademark on a particular shade of pink. I can't remember the exact PMS color, but I used to work for a screen printing company where we made all their displays for trade shows. They were VERY picky about their pink. It had to be EXACT!

From Wikipedia (owens corning):
"Among the many products of Owens Corning is its fiberglass insulation. Since 1956, the company's insulation has been dyed pink to provide visual contrast; the company became so associated with its pink insulation (originally planned as red, but the dye was not sufficiently concentrated, resulting in its current, trademarked light pink coloring) product that it even registered the term "PINK" (in capital letters only) to refer to its insulation. It was granted a trademark on the color in In re Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., 774 F.2d 1116 (Fed. Cir. 1985)."

tr67

That's as dumb as Paris Hilton or Donald Trump owning everyday phrases, just something lawyers can fight other lawyers for. They could learn something from broadcasting. Radio stations only have so many rights to a particular band of the EM spectrum, but there are legalities to the specific numbers as used in names. Take "107.7 The End" for example. It's all about context.

Kidazy

Are you kidding me? That's the most idiotic thing i've read in a while, claiming ownership to colors or everyday words has to be impossible to enforce...I bet their attorneys get paid a good amount and it sure seems like they stay on their toes!

silver

Pantone #0607298 = UPS brown (trademark)
"THE COLOUR PURPLE" = trademark by Cadbury Confectionary Litd.
bright green rectangle = H&R Block (trademark)
Pantone #1837 = Tiffany blue (trademakr)
bright yellow rectangle = Sprint

Some others arranged colorfully at this link. Mouse over to see who "owns" each color:
http://www.bureauofcreativecommerce.com/alllogos/Color.htm

The ColorMatters link that LizCrimson gave above is also especially informative. This crazy stuff has been going on a long, long time.

electrikmonk

t-mobile

so.. . are they going to sue me then?

jimmeah

Hej Colourlover,

Thanks for the post!

Can I use these investigations of yours on reclaimmagenta.net?

/ Kasper

Mocheeze

Home Depot also owns a particular orange PANTONE shade.

djuro

T-mobile sucks big time. That poor color...

RGB_Al

So no mobile Barbie then?

retsof

Pantone itself can be especially nasty. Most lists of Pantone colors out there are attacked aggressively, although they can't do much about situations like the above where somebody wants to grab a particular shade for their logo. Here is one former lister who posted the Pantone cease and desist order:

http://www.degraeve.com/reference/pantone.php

I have seen some paint color pages that list the pantone hues, WITHOUT any kind of reference to the Pantone numbers.

retsof

ALL of our magenta?? Here is one from the 1930s:
Magenta
This color stamp has faded over time, and I assume that T-Mobile will, as well.

Does Crayola need to license this from T-Mobile?
Crayola Magenta

retsof

Answers.com says that THIS is the color of T-Mobile magenta

Vienna Pink

holuxian

Back in the mid 80's and early 90's my wife was a rather successful Tupperware manager. Being a graphic designer, I did her business cards myself, using the logo and colors specified by Tupperware corporate. The color scheme: magenta and grey. Wonder if Tupperware could go after T-Mobil for stealing their colors....

holuxian

Addendum - Tupperware still uses that color scheme, which predated T-Mobil's appropriation. Can be seen here: http://www.tupperwarebrands.com/

retsof

I am posting comments too quickly. Slow down, it says. Is TIME something also to be grabbed for others?

I made several T-Mobile sucky colors in case I need them.

Somebody parked this domain. We'll see whether they do anything with it.

http://t-mobilesucks.com/

PinkLemons

In that case I would like to trademark the following colors/hues:

sky blue
black
white
orange


from now on any usage of these colors without my consent will be punishable to the full extent of the law

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION

The Cooler

The colors and the rights to them are based on the companies sector in the market!

aerodi

I have a question... It probably varies from country to country but in Mexico you can't register nouns as trademarks, for example you can't register "Bread" or "Pintura" because those are common words and if registered... what would happen to the language?
Would the same thing apply to the word "magenta" ? It should. This post made me mad at big corporations.

tenkerasu

... wtf?

seriously, what is wrong with people? this is disgusting...

bijouloveshues

Now, anyone that has ever created an identity for a company knows it's important to have something that is unique and makes that company stand out... HOWEVER, you can OWN colours! (?)

While being a watchdog for a number of brands, I've become familiar with the practice of making sure I'm using the correct Hex or PMS colours on all promotional materials, but I've never heard of outlawing or rendering colours off limits... isn't is just supposed to be deriviate works, like if I made a C-Mobile campaign with Magenta, then I could see them having a problem with it... but this is out of hand.

So... either Vonage or Ing Direct or Easy Everything has to give up the colour orange to promote themselves, because, well, only one of them can use it? Or Vodaphone and Virgin are going to fight over Red? This is not where design is supposed to lead us...

stltskn

this is crazy, its like apple would have trademarked white.

retsof

See the color names. This is a palette.
T-MobileWorkUniform

The Cooler

what or who is this LINKlove?

bijouloveshues

@ The Cooler...

when some other blog links to the CL blog I think it posts (CL Server side) as "LINKlove"

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search The Blog

Subscribe & Share

Our Latest Tweets

What's your favorite type of pie to enjoy after Thanksgiving dinner? http://t.co/HM5HLIYVZV http://t.co/flMuefDT6n
about 18 hours ago
Tweet this ArticleFollow @COLOURlovers

Latest Blog Posts

//View More ›

Tags

Latest Colors

//View More ›

Latest Palettes

//View More ›

Latest Patterns

//View More ›