With no evidence presented to show that the consumer was confused by AT&T’s thanks program, whereas Citigroup’s own evidence of the “many negative comments” only goes to show that consumers could distinguish from Citigroup’s “thank you” from AT&T’s “AT&T thanks”.
Citigroup Inc faced a setback when a judge rejected its injunction to stop AT&T from using the words “AT&T thanks” on its customer loyalty program. According to Citigroup the phrase is too similar to its trademarked “thankyou.” Customer loyalty program.
According to U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, Citigroup failed to show that customers are will not be able to distinguish “AT&T thanks” from “thankyou.” Or that it would suffer irreparable harm if AT&T kept using the phrase “AT&T thanks”.
She also disclosed that AT&T had provided material evidence to show that using a phrase other than “AT&T thanks” would cause an “expensive and significant disruption.”
Although Citigroup had no immediate comment, AT&T said in a statement it was pleased with the decision and said “the law does not allow one company to own the word ‘thanks.'”
Significantly, the ruling does not cast any aspersions on AT&T’s alleged infringement on Citigroup’s trademark.
The case is Citigroup Inc v. AT&T Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-04333.