You read that correctly. T-Mobile is indeed suing AT&T over the use of the color Magenta in the latter’s subsidiary, Aio Wireless, marketing, promotional, and advertising content.
And just when the battle between the two largest US GSM carriers couldn’t get anymore ridiculous… it does. T-Mobile is claiming that the choice of color by Aio Wireless was a deliberate move against the Un-Carrier, as both networks are making pushes for no-contract plans. T-Mobile fears that it could confuse customers.
“With full knowledge of T-Mobile’s use of magenta, AT&T’s subsidiary chose — out of all the colors in the spectrum — magenta to advertise, market and promote its wireless services in direct competition with T-Mobile. Aio does not use the orange coverage map of its parent company, but instead uses in its stores and on its website a magenta coverage map that is strikingly similar in color to the one used by T-Mobile.”
It wouldn’t be the first time the company has demanded the removal of the color. Yet, as silly as it might be, I can see the merit of their argument this time around. While the colors are clearly not the same (Aio’s is more of a mauve than magenta), they are strikingly similar, and therefore could be confused by customers. Especially given the history of AT&T and T-Mobile, the average consumer could probably attribute the color pallet to an alternate reality where AT&T did, in fact, but T-Mobile. Also, there are probably still many out there who do not know the fate of that failed transaction.
“When consumers see magenta in the wireless world, they think T-Mobile. But AT&T, through its subsidiary Aio Wireless, has been trying to get a free ride from T-Mobile’s success as America’s Un-carrier by using magenta in its marketing. We filed this lawsuit to stop them, and to protect T-Mobile’s powerful magenta trademark.”
-T-Mobile rep in an email to Forbes
An Aio spokesperson states in rebuttal that “T-Mobile needs an art lesson. Aio doesn’t do magenta,” and when asked what color they do use, could only say that it’s “not Magenta.” That’s telling them.
I myself am a T-Mobile customer, and with T-Mobile’s recent gains in the previous quarter, I can see why they would wanna protect their improving image.
Anyone else see merit in their claim, or is T-Mobile just being paranoid?