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Federal Court Rules That AT&T’s Aio Wireless was Infringing on T-Mobile’s Trademarked Color Scheme

In a world where everything is patentable or trademark-able, including colors, a federal court in Texas recently ruled that Aio Wireless was infringing on T-Mobile’s magenta color. Aio is a prepaid subsidiary of AT&T, so T-Mobile is claiming this as a big victory over America’s second largest wireless carrier. The judge ruled that customers ultimately identify magenta/plum as T-Mobile’s color, and Aio Wireless will need to change the color of all marketing material, store interiors, and anything else with the plum colorway. 

T-Mobile gave a brief statement concerning the ruling, and of course, they’re stoked about the outcome.

The court agreed with us that Aio can’t continue infringing T-Mobile’s magenta mark by using large blocks of what it has called “plum,” and told Aio to stop using magenta or similar colors in all of its marketing and advertising, including stores, web sites and social media.

While we do agree that the Aio Wireless plum color was sort of similar to T-Mobile’s magenta, the similarities seem rather subjective. A few may even argue that the plum is more of a purple, while the magenta is a pink.

What are your thoughts? Was Aio Wireless at fault for using plum as its color?

Via: T-Mobile
  • overclock

    I bet this judge had an iPhone 4 on AT&T and calls were constantly being dropped. AT&T said he was holding the phone wrong and Apple said it was AT&T’s network. He got back at AT&T, Apple is next.

  • georgei

    I agree with that. Aio is owned by a direct competitor and use a very similar color that T-Mobile has branded their marketing with. I’d be surprised if ATT didn’t know exactly what they were doing here.

  • BAoxymoron

    what happend to the “un” in uncarrier?

  • FelisLachesis

    So, I beg the question to the courts: how close is too close?

  • NexusMan

    Good. Agree with T Mo and the courts on this one…and I’m not a T Mo fan.

  • David Castillo

    Tmo trying to suck everything before being sold to Sprint I think aio should go with a skyblue color thoughts???

    • Adamania

      I think punctuation would make your statement actually make sense.

  • Higher_Ground

    Hmm, never really thought about it before, but all of the carriers are pretty much different colors, with only a few exceptions. Verizon = red, AT&T = blue, Sprint = yellow, Cingular = orange, T-mobile = purple, Cricket = green. I guess altell, virgin and US cellular kinda break the mold but there’s only so many colors anyway 🙂


    Chronus Clock
    Blur Wallpaper
    Tersus Icon Pack

    • Higher_Ground

      LOL I think you got your articles crossed 🙂

      • TWISM


  • AngryBadger

    50 shades of magenta

  • Intellectua1

    Lawsuit over a color scheme wow.. I’ve officially heard it all.. Death to T-Mobile and there horrible phone service..

    • BAoxymoron

      Death to easily avoidable grammatical errors..

      • Chris

        death to grammar police.

      • Intellectua1

        This is the Internet who cares about grammar

  • AndrewScottRox

    I bet T-Mobile is eating this up.

  • shkrmkr79

    As a graphic designer, I find this utterly ridiculous.

  • Bigsike

    Not for nothing but not knowing who AIO was I did think they were associated with Tmobile just by the logo.

  • jamdev12

    I wonder what John has to say about this.

  • Keith


  • Boblank84

    wow t-mo must have hired ex apple lawyers.

  • Chris Stuart

    I think Kellen should change the droid life color scheme to avoid being sued.

    • Green

      That was my first thought when I saw the article.
      I mean, really?

    • Jeremy Turnley

      IIRC, they actually sent DL a C&D a long while back.

      It’s one thing to protect your copyright when a competitor makes a new company and you decide the color is too similar, but going after everything that’s pink and related to mobile devices is a bit of a stretch.

      • michael arazan

        Note to self, Remove GF’s pink panties : P

  • Tim242

    This is just more nonsense from T-Mobile. I remember them suing Engadget for using a similar color. SMH

  • angelycam

    Don’t know why AT&T wouldn’t just use their own color anyway “blue”…but yes, silly! I guess this war is never ending. It may have been to their advantage to use the blue. If ppl thought magenta was affiliated to TMo, then it could’ve of stirred them away depending on the coverage in the area and vice versa…imo..

    • Tim242

      Use their own color? Aio is a separate brand.

    • WickedToby741

      Aio is a separate brand designed to capture people who don’t want to be AT&T customers for one reason or another (and often already are T-Mobile customers). They don’t want to use the same color probably because they don’t want people to think they’re part of AT&T. If you go to their website, it’s not a widely advertised fact.

    • RiceCake

      The purple of the logo goes well with the rest of their website theme. Blue wouldnt look as nice.

  • The Narrator

    The Magenta Knight strikes again.

  • Samvelavich

    The CEO must be loving this. Just driving AT&T to the ground.

  • Dr_Buttballs



    I’m sure AT&T was going for a color close to T-Mo’s but I think we’re getting to damn nitpicky with trademarks.

    • Keith

      Wasn’t AIO using this plum color prior to it’s acquisition by AT&T or am I wrong?

      • WickedToby741

        Did AT&T acquire Aio? I thought Aio was started under AT&T.

        • Keith

          Oh yeah, I’m wrong… Aio was in the news when they bought Cricket and Leap… oops.

      • ERIFNOMI

        I don’t think AT&T acquired Aio. Maybe you’re confusing them with Cricket/Leap which will be merged with Aio.

  • Philip J. Fry

    At least AIO has coverage

  • JBartcaps

    Seriously? Over colors? Maybe if the logos looked similar, I would understand, but they have no resemblance

    • aioaioaio

      And the worst part is, humans didn’t invent the color. It is merely a reflection of light.

      • JonathonFlores

        Humans invented patentable colors. There’s a difference.

        • ERIFNOMI

          Trademarks and patents are two different things.

          • JonathonFlores

            Trademark schmademark.

    • Keith

      This is ridiculous. AIO is plum. TMO is magenta. So the lawsuit conveniently covers TMO’s “magenta/plum” color as infringed upon? HA!!! I would have to wonder who gets to say how many shades over AIO must go before they have a color they can legally use? So petty… and TMO (aside from their coverage) has been doing so many good things lately. This is a step back if you ask me.

      • michael arazan

        Exactly, in what world is plum and magenta close to being the same color?

        What’s next, maroon?

        • DarkStarr

          Colors when displayed are not guaranteed. Some displays are really poorly calibrated and several colors can be either identical or damn near.

    • j

      There’s a reason so many lawsuits like this are filed in Texas.. because they always give ass-backwards rulings like this.

      Will be appealed.

      • middlehead

        Why waste time and money appealing it when they can just get a stayed order thanks to the Leap buyout? They just tell the court they’ve got a timeline to integrate it with Cricket and they’re done.

      • RiceCake

        It should be appealed. Every human sees color a little differently.

        It was funny to see T-Mo bash on a carrier but this is getting a little old. They should focus on making their network better and that is what will bring in the customers.