This is definitely one of the more bizarre trademark-protection efforts by a major corporation: T-Mobile is going after my old alma mater, Engadget (or, more specifically, Engadget Mobile), for using the color magenta in its logo. Apparently, the wireless giant is worried about “possible confusion with the consumer regarding the origin or sponsorship of your blog” and, of course, about “trademark dilution.” Engadget, not surprisingly, has responded as I’d expect them to: they’ve added magenta highlights across-the-board. And in an act of solidarity rare among hyper-competitive tech bloggers, competitors Phone Scoop, Phone Arena and GearBits are in on the action (or at least were as of yesterday; as usual, I’m a few hours late to the party). Somehow, I suspect this isn’t the reaction T-Mobile hoped for. But it’s the one they should have expected. Respecting trademarks is important, and Engadget has always been respectful. However, it’s one thing to trademark the use of a color in very specific context of selling a good or service, and quite another to issue a blanket statement that prohibits media organizations form using a similar color in their work. It sort of reminds me of the fiasco a few years back when Sun went after coffee sites for using Java in their names. We all know how that turned out; this time around, instead of continuing the fight, I have a feeling T-Mob’s magenta-faced execs will quietly let this one die, and avoid inflaming things further by dragging it out.
By Marc Perton