AT&T says, “thanks,” gets sued

AT&T says, “thanks,” gets sued
It does not seem possible, but apparently Citigroup, one of the largest banks in the United States believes it owns the rights to a certain way a business says “thank you” to its customers.

AT&T recently began using “AT&T thanks” in a new customer loyalty campaign. However, Citi says that the provider’s use of those words infringe on its claimed trademark to the phrase “thankyou,” which the bank uses in its own loyalty programs.

How might “thanks” and an improperly spelled “thankyou” confuse customers? We do not know, but Citigroup says that “AT&T thanks” is too close to its own campaigns, thus damaging good will. AT&T uses its phrase when it gives out branded credit and debit cards, provided by, you guessed it, Citigroup.

Citi claims it voiced concerns to AT&T about the upcoming campaign back in April and that AT&T went ahead with its plans. On Friday, Citigroup filed suit, with the aim of stopping AT&T from using phrases like “thanks” and “AT&T thanks,” resulting in irreparable damage to Citi's reputation.

AT&T’s spokesman Fletcher Cook said the carrier would defend itself against the lawsuit, “This may come as a surprise to Citigroup, but the law does not allow one company to own the word, ‘thanks.’ We’re going to continue to say thanks to our customers.”

How Citi thinks such a polite salutation would confuse customers is beyond our comprehension.

source: Reuters



1. tedkord

Posts: 17365; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Holy hell, this is getting ridiculous. I hope AT&T not only wins, but Citi has to pay all their legal fees, plus a huge penalty.

5. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Citi's loss of goodwill came long before AT&T said "thanks".

8. Unordinary unregistered

It's why I left their bank, along with all my money.

12. Tomgabriele

Posts: 30; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

Well I hope you wouldn't have left *without* all your money...

15. Unordinary unregistered

Had to make it clear for the mentally disabled on this site

21. simrob

Posts: 8; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

go f your self you ignorant bigot

22. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016



Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Citigroup is now what Capitol One was back in the 90's; uncool because Samuel Jackson hadn't told you so...

35. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

Me too. I hate AT&T but this is ridiculous. I hate when companies try to own words or colors or other stupid things like that.

2. mistercarter

Posts: 360; Member since: Sep 01, 2011

LMAO this is some serious bullsh*t... as if Thank you was a trademarked word! so everytime somebody says Thank you we should pay a fee to the Citi group? F off

4. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

No, it would only apply in the context of a loyalty program

3. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

Keep calm and have some publicity !

6. Arthurhkt

Posts: 723; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

Should I just patent every single word from the dictionary of every language and start suing everyone? I know the legal system doesn't work that way but.... If Citigroup really win this lawsuit, there is really a BIG PROBLEM with our legal system.

23. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I feel safe in saying that there already is a problem if a big company feels that it is right to do this.

24. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

You'll then be infringing on the patent covering patent trolling: The US patent system is so stupidly broken.

7. hafini_27

Posts: 950; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

That is beyond ridiculous.

26. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Sad part is, there's even more worse patents than this; you can get sued just for uploading an app to the Play Store or any application store for that matter:

9. syed_itsa

Posts: 50; Member since: Feb 05, 2015

Citi should write " Thanks is trademark of CitiBank '

10. redman

Posts: 12; Member since: May 14, 2008

This is utter nonsense and I cannot stand this type of corporate behavior. I will do what I can to avoid Citigroup, and "Thankyou" ;p

11. kylebelle

Posts: 74; Member since: May 03, 2016

"THANK YOU" phonearena for the news.

29. Maxwell.R

Posts: 218; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

We are drafting papers to take this to court right away. (just a joke for the internet lawyers).

30. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

Thanks for your comment. Now I need to find myself a lawyer.

32. fiji.siv

Posts: 95; Member since: Nov 25, 2015

Did you really just say 'thanks' without consent from Citi?!? Haven't you learned anything?!?

33. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

Thats why I have to get a lawyer.

13. irossdrummer

Posts: 369; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

I appreciate you puting this article out. Sorry Phone Arena, I can't say thanks without the fear of getting sued..

14. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

This won't make it on the docket. Maybe all Cities should sue

18. sissy246

Posts: 7121; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Thanks , thank you, thankyou, now off to hide so I don't get sued by citi crap.

19. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Makes you wonder if Citi really thought this through from a PR/marketing standpoint. Even if they win they look like total assholes. I guess their plan is to sweep it under the rug?

31. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

They're a bank. When have banks ever cared that they look like assholes? They have their hooks so deep in every facet of our financial system now that if 2008 happened again, they would take us all down with them. Hard to care when you hold all the cards AND the keys to the kingdom.

20. blingblingthing

Posts: 972; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Some former Apple big wig must be running Citi.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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