A federal district court judge has granted T-Mobile a preliminary injunction against AT&T subsidiary Aio Wireless on basis that its color scheme infringes on T-Mobile's magenta color trademark.
In the decision, Federal District Court judge Lee Rosenthal held that "T-Mobile has shown a likelihood that potential customers will be confused into thinking that Aio is affiliated or associated with T-Mobile based on the confused association between Aio’s use of its plum color and T-Mobile’s similar use of its similar magenta color."
The order prohibits Aio from using a plum color in advertising, marketing, and in store design.
Aio Wireless is a low-cost, no-contract carrier owned and operated by AT&T.
The prepaid service launched in 2013 and T-Mobile filed a lawsuit against the company's use of the plum color, which we reported on.
In the complaint, T-Mobile argued that Aio's plum color scheme and similar wireless services confused customers into thinking that the low-cost carrier was associated with T-Mobile.
T-Mobile proved that it had a strong likelihood of success in the merits of its case.
Part of T-Mobile's argument was that "AT&T set up Aio to compete directly with T-Mobile," and the court agreed, finding that "the record is clear that Aio wanted to capture T-Mobile customers."
Some documents unearthed during early discovery in the case disclosed that AT&T knew Aio's color scheme was similar to T-Mobile's.
According to the opinion, a company hired by AT&T for focus group testing sent a report "highlighting that because the plum color was so similar to T-Mobile magenta, focus-group members were initially confused into thinking that the commercials were affiliated with T-Mobile."
T-Mobile has defended its trademark on its magenta color vigorously, and in a statement, the company says that this latest ruling "validates T-Mobile's position that wireless customers identify T-Mobile with magenta and that T-Mobile's use of magenta is protected by trademark law."