AT&T, Citigroup drop court fight over 'thanks' branding

AT&T continues to use "thanks" as part of its loyalty program. Image source: AT&T

AT&T and Citigroup have agreed to drop their court kerfuffle over the use of the word “thanks.”

Citigroup sued AT&T for trademark infringement in June, claiming that the “AT&T Thanks” campaign would likely confuse consumers and cause irreparable damage to the goodwill and reputation associated with its own “thankyou” branding. Citigroup’s “thankyou” is trademarked, and the company has been using it since 2004.

AT&T filed a counterclaim stating that Citigroup has no monopoly on the word thanks. But the companies filed to dismiss those cases “with prejudice in their entirety,” preventing them from being brought again.

The move follows a ruling earlier this month that allowed AT&T to continue to use “AT&T thanks” for its loyalty program, rejecting a bid by Citigroup for a preliminary injunction that would have forced the carrier to drop the commonly used phrase. Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York said that Citigroup failed to demonstrate that consumers would be confused by the two campaigns, among other things, or that its own branding was distinctive enough to warrant trademark protection.

Forrest also noted that the two campaigns address different markets and use different logos and colors.

AT&T thanks is a loyalty program that launched several weeks ago, offering customers goodies such as buy-one, get-one-free movie tickets, special content for DirecTV subscribers and pre-sale ticket offers from Live Nation. Interestingly, AT&T thanks came online just weeks after T-Mobile launched its own loyalty campaign, dubbed T-Mobile Tuesdays.

Both AT&T and Citigroup also agreed to pay their own attorneys’ fees and costs.

For more:
- read this Reuters report

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