T-Mobile has a trademark on RAL 4010, a shade of magenta. Trademarks on colors (see also: UPS, John Deere) are a dangerous trend, robbing us of the spectrum one shade at a time, but T-Mobile's views on its trademark made this bad situation much worse.
That's because T-Mobile says that its trademark on RAL 4010 gives it the right to force any company, in any line of business, to take down ads that use colors similar to magenta, including pink.
The most recent victim of T-Mobile's trademark bullying is the NYC-based insurance startup Lemonade, whose predominantly magenta marketing campaign was shut down when a German court upheld T-Mobile's claim against the company.
A spokesman for Deutsche Telekom confirmed that it "asked the insurance company Lemonade to stop using the color magenta in the German market," while adding that the "T" in "Deutsche Telekom" is registered to the brand. "Deutsche Telekom respects everyone's trademark rights but expects others to do the same," the spokesman said in an emailed statement to Ad Age.
T-Mobile says it owns exclusive rights to the color magenta [George P Slefo/Adage]