When Big Corporations Act Exactly As Bad As Bernie Sanders Says They Are..

Thank you city

Banking behemoth Citigroup is suing AT&T for using  “Thank You” in ads, because Citigroup claims that it owns the trademark on “THANKYOU.” See, it’s not enough that corporations want us to think of them when we go to a baseball game or maybe when we are wishing that our children never existed. They want us to think of them when we are being nice, too

No, this is not a hoax. I wish it were.

Law professor/blogger Jonathan Turley, who hates this as much as I do, has kindly provided links to other examples of this nauseating phenomenon (this , and this, yes, and this , don’t forget this, oh, and this nonsense , this ,this too ,here ,here ,another one here, here as well, and this), but this is really the last straw, or should be.

Citigroup has persuaded its intellectual patent lawyers to trademark the term THANKYOU, and its applications CITI THANKYOU, CITIBUSINESS THANKYOU. THANKYOU FROM CITI, and THANKYOU YOUR WAY, as well as others. Thus the corporation argues that AT&T’s campaign for its Universal Card is illegally using the phrases “thanks” and “AT&T THANKS,” claiming that AT&T’s expression of gratitude “is likely to cause consumer confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition in violation of Citigroup’s rights.”

Translation: “Bull shit, but pay us anyway. It’s cheaper.”

Will a court let CitiGroup get away with it? I would hope not, since common words and expressions are not normally subject to copyright and trademark protection. As long as this is a fight between AT&T, which itself is trying to trademark “THANKS!”, this is like Alien vs Predator, Godzilla vs, Rodan, Iraq vs. Iran or Hillary vs.The Donald. With luck, they’ll obliterate each other. The danger is that some judge, or Congress, which is notoriously compliant to ridiculous and free-speech strangling corporate demands for restrictive intellectual property law, will validate this unethical crap.


Pointer and Source: Res Ipsa Loquitur

17 thoughts on “When Big Corporations Act Exactly As Bad As Bernie Sanders Says They Are..

  1. Sometimes I really don’t wonder why really poor people in 3rd world counties look at the United States and think we’re all nucking futs.

    Just wait, someone eventually figure out how to patent that stuff we breathe so we all have to dig down deep in our pocket books to breathe it.

  2. I keep tellin’ ya. My NDE warned me about the coming shitstorm. Guess what? It’s here. Guess what again… you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    • Don’t you read this blog?

      Attorneys don’t get sanctioned in America unless they are multiple, repeat, egregious offenders with “Please disbar my unethical ass” engraved on their forehead. 🙂

      • Well, yes, bar associations are kind of closed shops. But you’d think a judge would sanction them for bringing an absolutely meritless case and at least have to pay the defendants’ attorneys’ fees and costs. Rule 51? Or is it Car 54?

        Jack? A little help?

        • It’s Rule 11, and it is only used to sacntion litigants and lawyers when it is a clear cut, slam dunk, no argument case. Like, say, when a judge dismissing an appeal with prejudice says “Don’t bring this case back or else!” and they still bring it back.

          The ethics rule is ABA 3.1:

          “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that could result in incarceration, may nevertheless so defend the proceeding as to require that every element of the case be established.”

          The bolded section favors ingenious lawyers and stupid lawyers. It is very broadly construed because the law has made many advances (some not so good) by lawyer maintaining theories that were widely regarded as hopeless and ridiculous, and having a judge or jury agree with them.

          This is one example.

          • That’s right. It’s Rule 11 and AREA 51.

            Guess I don’t have a judicial temperament. I’d sanction these guys.

  3. How in the name of Thomas Edison did the PTO even grant that trademark in the first place?!?

    Sadly, I know the answer. (I have a close friend who works there.) There is zero-zip-nada motivation for the Examiner to deny a patent for being trivial or to deny a trademark for being common. Denying anything for any reason other than “XXX beat you to it” only results in extra work and a long, expensive litigation from the applicant who feels entitled to his/her/its patent.

    Hell, Intel tried to patent the number 86. (Thankfully, the PTO said no–and “Sorry about that.”)


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