Lemonade, the insurance company powered by AI and behavioral economics, today announced it is seeking to invalidate Deutsche Telekom’s claim to exclusive rights over the color pink.
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Following Lemonade’s June 2019 launch in Germany, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile’s parent company) proclaimed that its dominion over the color pink extended to insurance, and demanded Lemonade abandon its use of pink entirely. Deutsche Telekom obtained a preliminary injunction instructing Lemonade to remove the offending color from all its German assets. The proceedings were ‘ex parte’, meaning that Lemonade has not yet had its day in court. An earlier ‘magenta injunction’, against Swedish telecommunications company Telia, was overturnedby a Danish court, and Deutsche Telekom was made to pay costs when it lost at trial1.
Lemonade has been using pink prominently and proudly since its inception in 2015, and its Instagram campaign, in which hundreds of everyday objects are dunked into pink paint, has been viewed 18 million times in recent months. When it comes to insurance, probably no brand in the world is more closely connected with the color pink than Lemonade. Deutsche Telekom, in contrast, is not even licensed to conduct business in this regulated industry – so the two companies are not competitive in any way.
“In the German telecommunications industry, Deutsche Telekom is associated with a particular shade of pink it calls “magenta”, though for years it has tried to take a wide range of pinks away from businesses across multiple industries and countries,” said Daniel Schreiber, CEO and cofounder, Lemonade. “Deutsche Telekom sought to banish the use of pink from a technology blog in the US2, an aspiring watchmaker seeking crowd-funding on Indiegogo3, an invoice processor in Holland4, a nine person IT shop in England5, and now, it’s claiming it owns pink in the insurance industry, too. If some brainiac at Deutsche Telekom had invented the color, their possessiveness would make sense. Absent that, the company’s actions just smack of corporate bully tactics, where legions of lawyers attempt to hog natural resources – in this case a primary color – that rightfully belong to everyone.”
In deference to the court, Lemonade temporarily made the color changes it ordered in Germany. In defiance of Deutsche Telekom, Lemonade refused to sign the company’s agreement, choosing instead to challenge its hegemony over pink in all jurisdictions.
“Deutsche Telekom tried to use the injunction to strong arm us into signing away our right to use the color pink anywhere in the world, as well as our right to challenge its supposed ownership of pink everywhere,” said Shai Wininger, COO and co-founder, Lemonade. “At first we thought DT couldn’t be serious: monopolizing all the pink in the world sounds like something a cartoon villain would do in a Disney epic. But it was serious. It’s the move of a big corporation that has run out of good ideas.”
Schreiber added: “Think about it: your printer has but 3 colors – cyan, yellow and magenta. The idea that Deutsche Telekom owns magenta in all its variations, across industries and countries, seems like a proposition worth challenging. We’re not sure how this will end, but we’ll try to have some fun along the way. As Miley Cyrus said, ‘pink isn’t just a color, it’s an attitude.’”
Follow the developments on social media: #FreeThePink
Lemonade offers homeowners and renters insurance in the United States, and contents and liability insurance in Germany, through its full-stack insurance carriers. Powered by artificial intelligence and behavioral economics, Lemonade replaces brokers and bureaucracy with bots and machine learning, aiming for zero paperwork and instant everything. A Certified B-Corp, Lemonade gives underwriting profits to nonprofits selected by its community during its annual Giveback.
Lemonade is currently available for most of the United States and Germany, and continues to expand globally.
Stay in touch at @lemonade_inc or www.facebook.com/lemonade
Telia (Swedish Mobile Network Carrier)
T-Mobile loses magenta suit against Telia, we try not to laugh
The court to overturn an injunction DT sought against Telia’s use of the color. On top of that, the court further ruled that Deutsche Telekom has to fork over 1.5M kroner ($316,188) in court costs and attorneys’ fees to Telia…now that magenta is the People’s Color, maybe DT should look into playing a little nicer, don’t you think?”
Engadget (US, Technology Blog)
Deutsche Telekom to Engadget: We Own The Color Magenta.
Ryan Block of Engadget assures us that this is not an early April Fool gag. Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile in Germany, has sent a letter to the gadget blog demanding that it stop using the color magenta.
Oxy (UK, Smartwatch maker)
Telekom Gets Smartwatch Maker To Change All Its Logos Because Magenta
Deutsche Telekom, appears to be at it again, sending out threat letters to OXY, makers of a soon-to-be-launched smartwatch, all because the startup dared to use the color magenta in its logo…OXY had a good case to defend itself on the merits. Unfortunately, as is the case in too many of these trademark bullying stories, fear and lack of resources made the smarter decision for OXY to simply be to cave and go through the hassle of changing all of its logo and marketing material to remove the offending pink/magenta… All in the name of trademark, built to keep customers from being confused, while instead being used simply to push small new businesses around for no valid reason. Yay.
Compello (Holland, invoice management)
Companies see red over rights to the color magenta
Compello – an information technology firm in the Dutch town of Zwolle – is locked in a legal struggle with the German giant, Deutsche Telekom, which is pressing the company to get rid of the vivid hues because it claims trademark rights to the color magenta. “When I first heard of it, I thought it was a joke, but in the last month I’ve had so much pressure,” said Giesbers, the chief executive of Compello…Compello, confirmed that the company had spent more than €150,000, or $234,000, to change its corporate color to a deeper, redder hue that it calls Red Rubin. But he said legal discussions have not stopped because Deutsche Telekom lawyers are not satisfied with the new shade. “It’s like Goliath and David,” he said.
Datajar (UK, IT support small business)
T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of ‘trademarked’ magenta
“It’s unfair and it’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Ridsdale. “If we were called D-Mobile or something like that and you could see the logo was in Times New Roman and obviously we were selling mobile phones or something like that… but we’re not.”