Saturday, November 10, 2007

Know Your Rights: Does T-Mobile really own magenta?

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Know Your Rights is Engadget's new technology law series, written by our own totally punk copyright attorney Nilay Patel. In it we'll try to answer some fundamental tech-law questions to help you stay out of trouble in this brave new world. Disclaimer: Although this post was written by an attorney, it is not meant as legal advice or analysis and should not be taken as such.

Hey, does T-Mobile really own magenta? I was just about to redesign my blog, and that was going to be the main color.

Really? Maybe T-Mo should sue you.

Come on, I've been hearing this everywhere. 1265 Diggs can't be wrong.

Well, they're not wrong, they're just less than right. T-Mobile's disclaimers certainly do say that "the magenta color" is a T-Mobile trademark.

So there you go! That's so stupid! The system is broken! Everyone is corrupt! How can a corporation own a color?! I've already skipped down and begun flaming!

Chill out, Sparky. T-Mobile doesn't "own" anything here, least of all a color. That's the part everyone seems to have missed. T-Mobile has what appears to be a German trademark on that specific magenta color (RAL 4010, specifically) as it relates to their branding, but that doesn't really affect the average consumer.

Besides, this isn't some radical new development. Lot of other companies have registered color trademarks -- Owens-Corning has a trademark on the use of pink for insulation, Tiffany & Co. has a trademark on that certain blue color it uses for jewelry boxes, and UPS has a trademark on brown. Interesting you haven't seen UPS suing Microsoft over that itty-bitty Zune thing, no?

Continue reading Know Your Rights: Does T-Mobile really own magenta?


[via] Engadget

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