Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) Ends Legal Feud With AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) Over Customer Loyalty Program

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) have ended a court case presented on grounds of whether the “AT&T Thanks” customer loyalty program impedes on  Citigroup trademark.

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Citigroup took the matter to court to argue that the phrase used by AT&T violates the Citigroup trademark “thankyou” phrase. A Manhattan Federal Court filing on Monday stated that the two firms have decided to do away with the case and never to bring it up again. Citigroup filed the lawsuit against AT&T in June claiming that it owned the trademark since 2004. AT&T presented an argument that the US bank did not have monopoly over the word “Thanks” and asked the court to issue an order against the bank.

The decision to end the battle may help in maintaining the relationship between the two companies, which dates back to 1998, when the two have co-branded credit cards that are used by more than 1.7 million customers in the US. Jennifer Bombardier, a spokeswoman for Citigroup stated that the company decided to stop pursuing the lawsuit so that it can focus on a continued partnership with AT&T. The latter did not release any comments on the matter. The case was thrown out roughly 11 days after Citigroup’s request for a preliminary injunction was presented against the telecommunications firm was rejected by U.S. district Judge Katherine Forrest.

The Judge argued that Citigroup failed to show that “AT&T Thanks” would lead to confusion among customers or cause harm despite the similarities between the two slogans. The district judge’s decision also supported AT&T’s claim that Citigroup should not have monopoly over the word “thanks.” AT&T has also dropped its claims against the US bank.

The case is one of the many examples of firms looking to cash in on corporate lawsuits on very minor matters without considering the bigger picture such as their future partnerships and achievements. In this case, AT&T’s relationship with the bank will most likely not be as strong but only time will determine which course the mobile telecommunications firm will take.

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