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