Digital advertising and marketing: only the best ideas worldwide, since 2003

Fight for a “free magenta”

November 8, 2007 at 2:46 by Martina Comments

In The Netherlands, a social movement is born to protect the free use of the magenta colour in communication materials. The fight has begun recently, when mobile carrier T-Mobile has started a legal fight versus a series of Dutch brands such as Slam FM, Compello and 100% NL which magenta in their logo.

Basically T-Mobile claims it owns the rights to use magenta in commercial materials, saying the registered them at the Oami… It’s such a silly thing!
I remember a similar case a few years ago, when Easy entered the mobile phones market and Orange started a legal action against easyMobile over its use of the color orange to promote telecommunications services. I don’t know the end of the story, but I think it’s curious to note mobile carriers have a complex with branding colours…

File under: ,

16 Responses to Fight for a “free magenta”

  1. David Isserman says:

    I’m sure T-Mobile can protect its use of the color in the mobile phone industry, but I cannot see how it would be appropriate to fight companies in other sectors…if they win these battles, this could set a very interesting precedent.

  2. Frederic says:

    Same thing happened in Belgium with Belgacom and their association of two colors (turquoise and orange). It was a big legal mess and they were like nearly wining the juridic fight after months and years of battle.
    But then, guess what happened? For a totally different reason, they changed their logo (and colors :-)

  3. Martina says:

    David, I agree with you. I’m ok if the restricted use of a color it’s limited to an industry.
    If they win this case, we will have Coke claiming the red, Heineken claiming the green etc… We will end up in a black & white world. Even if I’m sure someone has already registered the rights for these colors as well… :-(

  4. Oh Martina, there’s no way for a black and white world. White may soon be owned by Apple. :)

  5. Ed Wood says:

    And Nike will take the balck. We will have to start thinking new colors!
    The doubt I have is: will not be possible to use a different magenta, just like 0.1 % more red or something? how can they copyright the whole spectrum?

  6. andy says:

    One word: Silly!
    More words: I wonder how much T-mobile’s action tells us about their confidence in their brand? If I was a stakeholder of T-mobile, I would worry about their strength to keep and further build their brand.

  7. benni says:

    No comment.

  8. Ricky Irvine says:

    What’s really dumb, in this case, is that it’s impossible to display a true magenta on screen. We can only get so close with RGB.

  9. we will have Coke claiming the red, Heineken claiming the green
    In essence, you do. Companies will do a couple things to protect their color — the first is usually to create a specific mix that is there’s and then brand it as such: Coke Red. There are a couple of reasons to do this actually, and that is part do to the trademarks of the color matching companies.
    For instance, Mobile Oil has Mobile Red and Mobile Blue — in reality these are very close to specific Pantone Colors, but they can’t say that Mobile Blue is PMS XXX, or Mobile Red is PMS XXX. That would infringe on Pantone’s trademark. So they for their own protection, and to protect them against the service companies they will use their own mix.
    Well written identity manuals will often say something like, “Company X’s colors are Company X Color Z and Company X Color Y. Color Z is A/B/C/D and can be matched with PMS XXX and Color Y is Z/Y/X/W and can be matched with PMS XXX” or something else to appease the legal departments of all involved. It would just not be okay for them to claim a specific color matching system’s color value and number as their own.

  10. j becker says:

    So… Coke won’t own their red because Pantone may own it and Coke licences it. That’s so much better � trading one monopolistic attitude for another.
    As a company why would what to have a industry-saturated colour (no pun intended) anyways? Come on Creatives, can we use our noggins for once.
    I demand every monitor sold comes preconfigured with a calibration device so as I won’t get sued for viewing Mcdonalds ‘Muddy Sunset Yellow’.

  11. IdeaLog says:

    It’s awful then someone wants to register phrases-slogans, colors and another attributes which serve to describe the world.
    Branding stopped be good for consumers as marketers found out that brands can sell themselves even if the commodity is crap.

  12. Kathryn Hill says:

    Wow, that’s pretty ridiculous.

  13. Down10 says:

    Does Coke have their own licensed Pantone color or not? I’ve heard of this before, but wasn’t sure if it was true. Is it?

  14. eric says:

    Allowing T-Mobile to “claim” the rights to a specific color that is so common wouldn’t just set a n interesting precedent, it would set a dangerous one. I’m ok with certain colors or combinations being protected within an industry (e.g. UPS and the color brown) but a boundary has to be set. What would stop IBM (“Big Blue”)from preventing every other company from using the color blue? T-Mobile should wake up and realize that they are wasting money on a pointless legal action that could be better spent on branding efforts or product research.

  15. If only it were that easy to secure your brand identity with a color like magenta.

Advertise here