Citigroup claims it owns the phrase ‘THANKYOU’ in bizarre new legal battle

By Kitty Knowles 13 June 2016


You better watch your back next time you want to show your appreciation – if you use the phrase ‘THANKYOU’ you could be breaking the law.

Rather bizarrely, Citigroup has trademarked the term, and the finance giant is now suing telecommunications company AT&T for using it in a new marketing campaign.

Citigroup’s trademark certificates detail its ownership of its “THANKYOU Marks,” and will be used to prop up a lawsuit against AT&T lodged in New York federal court.

The group says:

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”).

A battle for gratitude

According to Citigroup, AT&T illegally uses the phrases “thanks” and “AT&T THANKS,” in its new campaign.

It not only wants the company to stop the “confusing” slogan, but is claiming unspecified damages, as supposedly everyone knows that the “THANKYOU Marks” are synonymous with Citigroup.

The new lawsuit is actually just the latest crossroads faced by the two companies: earlier this year, AT&T applied to trademark “AT&T THANKS.” It was swiftly quashed by Citibank.

Here at The Memo, we’d quite like to be thanked more by corporations that take our money or time.

Citybank – thanks for nothing.

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