T-Mobile

Texas court rules AT&T has to choose a new color scheme for its budget prepaid brand

Following an extensive suit culminating in a three-day hearing, T-Mobile has won a court case finding that AT&T's prepaid brand Aio Wireless was using colors too similar to T-Mobile's in its branding. The lawsuit, which sparked up quickly after Aio Wireless launched, claimed that AT&T specifically used a color it calls "plum" that was very close to T-Mobile's trademark magenta color specifically to confuse customers.

Aio Wireless LogoA federal court in Texas has now ordered AT&T to stop using its current "plum" color scheme, specifically "magenta or similar colors," for the prepaid brand in marketing, advertising, stores, web sites and social media. It's not clear at this time what color scheme AT&T will choose to switch to, or if it will appeal the decision — the wording of the ruling doesn't ban complete use of the colors, but only specific shades in "large blocks."

T-Mobile states that "Wireless customers identify T-Mobile with magenta," and that this ruling reaffirms that position. This isn't the first time T-Mobile has had to defend its specific color use against other entities, but this can be a big speed bump and cost assessed to AT&T which is likely trying to run Aio Wireless on generally tight margins.

Source: T-Mobile

 

Reader comments

T-Mobile wins court case over Aio Wireless regarding use of magenta-like colors

85 Comments

Is the color really that important? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love T-Mobile's service. But, those clearly look like two completely different shades of Magenta.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Think about it this way: what wireless carrier is refered to as "the big red" .

Sometimes color is just that important.

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I like to think of T-Mobile in big yellow letters.

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!!
(ZeroLemon 7000mAh battery and ZeroShock Case/the OtterBox Defender Series like case for real battery enthusiasts)

I like to think of T-Mobile in big yellow letters.

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!!
(ZeroLemon 7000mAh battery and ZeroShock Case/the OtterBox Defender Series like case for real battery enthusiasts)

If the color that` important, walk to aios wireless and ask them to give a phone with T-mobile account... But, in this case T-mobile telling it customers and the rest of the world can`t READ they just go by color blind.
T-Mobile and their CEO acting like a child in this case.

Two different shades of magenta...because the AIO logo isn't even Magenta...is T-Mobile really that scared of AT&T (and especially this prepaid company)and also how color blind is the judge in this case?

Well AT&T has already been found guilty in a court of law so I don't know what you're capable of.

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What's next? Pink Moto X's can only be used on Tmo?

Uh Oh, Droid-Life dot com is probably going to be receiving a cease and desist letter from T-Mo

A court of law. In the most patent and copyright crazy place in the world.

But don't bet that this is the final word. After all, if the courts lets this stand, then any company selling any thing could own a color, and all similarly close colors.

AT&T owes it to the world to appeal this.

It will stand unless AT&T appeals the decision. Likely, it will cost less to re-do their color scheme than to continue with costly litigation.

Completely serious.

I had a vision test yesterday and I am color blind red and green (nothing I didnt already know) and even I can tell that the shades are different.

Not to mention style...

T-Mobile, Apple of carriers?

I wouldn't necessarily call T-Mobile the "Apple" of carriers, considering that they don't have nearly as much money, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Seriously. They just hate att. They'll literally do anything to smear atts name.

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

If the CEO of T-Mobile had a brain that was as big as his mouth he would be working on stealing Sprint customers... especially if Softbank is eyeing T-Mobile (like the rumors report) he would want to show that his company is worth more than Sprint so he keeps his job...

Yeah I guess. But still. T-Mobile just wants there brand protected. And as I said above they hatteee att.

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

As someone who has worked retail can I just say American consumers in general are borderline retarded (especially the ones who frequent Walmart).

Having this "plum" display right next to the T-Mobile "magenta" display is definitely confusing to these people (but then again I find it hard to believe these mouth breathers are even capable of dressing themselves in the morning).

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I know what you mean.

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

I've seen the same thing over the years working in IT. There's an increasing number of people that are either intellectually lazy, lack critical thinking skills or are just outright stupid.

So IMO this is just T-Mobile catering to those people; the lowest common denominator.

To me, AIO is a darker red or dark violet, and T-Mobile is closer to pink. but adls one person below said, they're color blind and can't distinguish from the two.

Also, branding is key. Just like the guy above me said about Verizon, it's all about protecting the brand recognition. And if you asked me who is the violet/purple cell provider, I would easily say T-Mobile.

Not taking either side, just wanting to point out that a seemingly small thing can mean everything.

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Is that your new "this"?

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

OK good. Cause I like this better.

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

Gotta love how lawsuit-happy companies are these days that they have to go to all this trouble over something so asinine as device color.

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It sounds to me that you don't fully understand the situation, or even read the article in the first place.

This is more importantly about branding not a smartphone color.

Well it is t mobiles own color and it is a trademark copyright. Of course u can't just use it. Doh.

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To me the colors are not even close to each other, was that judge color blind?

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There are only so many colors to choose from. Lets not be ridiculous.I didn't know colors could be trademarked. If each prepaid company trademarked a color you would soon run out of colors (especially when it doesn't have to be an exact match).

It's ridiculous to me that any company thinks they own something as universal and basic as a color. I mean does anyone go to AIO thinking they are at TMob? If so, there are clearly bigger problems. Further if people choose carriers based solely on color scheme, again clearly there are bigger issues. Personally I only chose Straight Talk for it's vomit green or mucus green (take your pick) color, not because of their value.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

So if starting a wireless company you can't use red, blue, yellow and magenta or anything remotely close to one of them. I think it's frivolous. Just my opionin which means jack I know.

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Your opinion is pretty legit, though. I could understand the lawsuit if the color along with other aspects of the branding were similar. But nothing about Aio's advertisements is reminiscent of T-Mobile's. They're not calling themselves A-Mobile and advertising with a pretty brunette in a pink dress. The color's not even very similar. This is infuriating.

My God, T-Mobile is money hungry. It's like Apple suing aluminum can companies for using their trademark silver coloring. T-Mobile needs to get off their imaginary high horse and realize that they should reinforce their 4g and 4g LTE services and use less disgraceful marketing tactics. It's just sad at this point.

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Don't think AT&T was required to pay any money damages... This is protecting their brand, not trolling for cash.

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But AT&T didn't pay anything. They'd be Apple-like if they were asking $1Billion for the lawsuit

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I retract my statement about the flappy bird guy removing the game. THIS is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

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When you see pink, you think T-Mobile.
When you see red, you think Verizon.
When you see yellow, you think Sprint.

Kind of have to agree with Tmo in this one.

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And when you see blue, you think AT&T.

I can see both sides of the issue. There are only so many colors... It is not like T-Mobile's pinkish thing is confused with Verizon's red.

I have a hard time with this decision. The color is not even close. The hue and vibrancy are so different. I can understand if the font was remotely similar but it isn't. Either way I like AIOs new color better

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Off topic: I laugh at your profile picture every time I see it. It's absolutely hilarious, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

does this mean if I start a new cellphone company(either real or MVNO),
I can't use Hello Kitty pink?

Whenever I see the T-Mobile pink, I always think of Hello Kitty pink.

If you're illiterate, you should not be using a smartphone. Jesus Christ. I don't mistaken Volkwsagon with GE or Chase or Dell or EA or HP or PayPal or Twitter or Facebook or AT&T or Skype now do I?

Branding is important. The Judge made a decision in favor of the case T-mobile presented to the court.

The wording of the ruling doesn't ban complete use of the colors, but only specific shades in "large blocks."

Whether you agree or not, your opinions are irrelevant.

I can understand it....it's all about branding. Your brand is what makes you stand out. Being a business owner, I can completely understand T-Mobile position. It's about branding, even if the colors are a little different. As someone has already said, we associate red with Verizon, Pink for T-Mobile, Yellow for sprint, and blue & orange (for me) for AT&T. There's a reason for that....the psychology behind marketing is amazing.

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I agree with this. Even though it's not quite the same, it's still a marketing problem. Each large carrier has a color that is associated with them.

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And I just lost a little bit of the respect for T-Mobile that I've gained over the last year. Tired of hearing about such a litigious industry that just seems to be full of a bunch of extremely wealthy cry babies.

I actually see the Aio logo posted in this article as kind of a darker, maroon-ish shade. It looks like a different shade than what's on the Aio website, or my My Aio app.

Could just be context, though, since the logo in this article is on a white field and ones on the website/app aren't.

Are consumers really this stupid? So stupid that we would confuse carriers because of a color? If so this is a sad statement about our intelligence today.

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I think AT&T should scrap the logo altogether. I could make a better looking logo in 10 with Microsoft Office

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Magenta? I associate T-mob with PINK, not magenta. The two colors aren't even close. Another stupid Texas judge. This one must be color blind, too.

It's a sad day when you cannot use a certain color cause someone used it before in another sign.
Can Verizon go out and sue if another company uses RED?
Guess I'll go out and patent the color BLACK.
I associate T-Mobile with the name T-Mobile.

Yes, they could sue *if* the company was telecommunications related... if you set up a film production house or a steel-smelting plant, you could use red 'till you were... well, red in the face, and Verizon wouldn't come after you. You don't see Coca Cola suing Verizon for red, either, because they both make very different products and thus the brand recognition isn't diluted or confused.

T-Mobile is associated with Magenta and shades they use in advertising are within a range. The AIO logo is not in that range. But T-Mobile also owns and operates Metro PCS wich is purple as primary color in advertising. So it's not absurd they sued over a color close to mixing purple and Magenta. If it was a company not in the telecommunications industry it would have been stupid.

I would never in a million years call either of those colors magenta! T-Mobile is in denial that their brand is pink. Kind of like an insecure man in a pink shirt saying that it's "salmon". AT&T is using a color that is more along the lines of a burgundy than a magenta. I agree with the guy who asked "Is T-mobile the Apple of carriers?"...this is a petty move to stifle competition. That's all! BTW, I'm a T-mobile user in Europe, so I'm not playing favorites...just calling it like I see it!

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Just the "T" in T-Mobile is colored. All of "aio wireless" is colored....and a different shade of magenta, pink, purple....whatever. People are calling this branding...I call it stupid. If people can't tell the difference between them, especially when entering their store (cause you know, people get confused), they shouldn't be owning anything that resembles electronics.

This is crazy but don't you remember T-Mobile also going after Engadget Mobile website logo a few years back (link below)?! I love T-Mobile but this crap is crazy. They are doing the things which the larger companies and carriers are known for and they are supposed to be "Uncarrier"! In other news I'm scared to think about what I'm going to have to do if Sprint buys them. I just left Sprint and they suck beyond any other carrier by far! I HATE SPRINT! LOL! http://www.engadget.com/2008/0...

5th

That looks nothing like magenta. Matter of fact, I PREFER it over magenta. Maybe T-Mobile should keep that color for itself and drop the magenta.