Filewrapper®

T-Mobile Asserts Charitable Startup Lemonade Infringes Magenta Mark

November 26, 2019
Post by Gregory "Lars" Gunnerson

National Public Radio (NPR) reports T-Mobile has sent a cease and desist letter to startup Lemonade. For those unfamiliar with Lemonade, Lemonade is a public benefit corporation quickly growing in popularity, particularly with millennials, because the company donates all unclaimed money to charities of the policyholder’s choice.

T-Mobile asserts Lemonade’s use of a color allegedly similar to Magenta infringes its federally registered trademark, U.S. Serial No. 78798428. The registered mark “consists of the color magenta alone, which is the approximate equivalent of Pantone Matching System, Rhodamine Red U, used on the background of product displays and advertisements found in a store.” The registered mark is associated with telecommunication and information technology services.

It appears T-Mobile is broadly seeking to enforce its trademark rights outside of telecommunication and information technology services. T-Mobile told NPR “that it has lots of businesses beyond just wireless service and the company feels it's important that there's no confusion when customers see the color magenta.”

Companies have increasingly tried to enforce colors and/or color schemes as trademarks since the possibility of registering color-related trademarks with the USPTO was first attempted in the 1980s. For example, in 2017, a U.S. District Court in Kentucky ruled in favor of Deere & Company in a lawsuit that was filed to protect use of the trademark green and yellow color combination on John Deere agricultural equipment.

Some companies however have not been so lucky in convincing the Trademark Office and the courts to associate, via a registered federal trademark, their brand with a particular color. The TTAB in 2017 denied Cheerio’s appeal for registration of the color yellow on a cereal box. Judge Anthony R. Masiello reasoned the healthy cereal brand cannot have exclusive claims to the color because other breakfast items, including cereals, also use it in their packaging, noting there is an “industry practice of ornamenting breakfast cereal boxes with bright colors, bold graphic designs, and prominent word marks.”

Gregory “Lars” Gunnerson is a Patent Attorney in the Mechanical and Electrical Patent Practice Groups at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit www.ipmvs.com or contact Lars directly via email at  gregory.gunnerson@ipmvs.com.


Post Categories

Comments (0)
Post a Comment



Captcha Image
Return to the Filewrapper Blog

Search Posts

Purpose

The attorneys of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. designed this blog as an informational and educational resource about intellectual property law for our clients, other attorneys, and the public as a whole. Our goal is to provide cutting-edge information about recent developments in intellectual property law, including relevant case law updates, proposed legislation, and intellectual property law in the news.

Disclaimer

McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. provides this blog for general informational purposes only. By using this blog, you agree that the information on this blog does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created between you and McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. Do not consider this blog to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified, licensed attorney. While we try to revise this blog on a regular basis, it may not reflect the most current legal developments. We consciously refrain from expressing opinions on this blog and instead, offer it as a form of information and education, however if there appears an expression of opinion, realize that those views are indicative of the individual and not of the firm as a whole.

Connect with MVS

Enter your name and email address to recieve the latest news and updates from us and our attorneys.

Subscribe to: MVS Newsletter

Subscribe to: Filewrapper® Blog Updates

  I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C.