Who knew? Banking giant Citigroup has trademarked “THANKYOU” and is now suing technology giant AT&T for how it says thanks to its own loyal customers. This is “unlawful conduct” amounting to wanton trademark infringement, Citigroup claims in its federal lawsuit.
Here is a copy (PDF) of the trademark certificates and trademark applications connected to what Citigroup is calling its “THANKYOU Marks.”
According to Citibank’s lawsuit (PDF) lodged Friday in New York federal court:
For many years, Citigroup has used trademarks consisting of and/or containing the term THANKYOU, including THANKYOU, CITI THANKYOU, CITIBUSINESS THANKYOU. THANKYOU FROM CITI, and THANKYOU YOUR WAY, in connection with a variety of customer loyalty, reward, incentive, and redemption programs (collectively, the “THANKYOU Marks”).
In its lawsuit, the financial institution says AT&T is infringing Citigroup’s intellectual property because of AT&T’s brand new marketing campaign (PDF) connected to AT&T’s co-branded, Citigroup credit card called “the AT&T Universal Card.” AT&T is illegally marketing the phrases “thanks” and “AT&T THANKS,” Citigroup claims. This “is likely to cause consumer confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition in violation of Citigroup’s rights,” the suit says.