Citigroup is saying “no, thanks” to AT&T’s new loyalty rewards program, or, more specifically, it’s label.
The financial company filed a lawsuit against the wireless carrier on Friday, stating it has offered a trademarked “THANKYOU” rewards program since 2004 and alleging AT&T knowingly violated the bank’s trademark with the roll out of its “thanks” rewards program earlier this month.
The litigation was first pointed out by David Kravets at Ars Technica on Sunday.
Citigroup, which has issued around 1.7 million co-branded credit cards with AT&T, said it first became aware of AT&T’s intent to use the “thanks” label in March 2016 and expressed its concerns about trademark infringement to the carrier at that time. AT&T proceeded in April to file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeking to trademark “AT&T THANKS,” the lawsuit said.
Citigroup in its filing argued AT&T’s use of the “thanks” label is “likely to cause consumer confusion and constitutes trademark infringement.”
The bank said it is seeking an order preventing AT&T’s use of the label and mandating the destruction of all materials carrying the infringing slogan. Citigroup is also seeking restitution of any profit AT&T made off the label and triple damages.
An AT&T spokesman on Monday said the carrier has no intention of changing its rewards moniker.
“This may come as a surprise to Citigroup, but the law does not allow one company to own the word ‘thanks,'” the spokesman said. “We’re going to continue to say thanks to our customers.”
Launched on June 2, AT&T’s new rewards program thanks customers for their loyalty with a number of entertainment-related offerings. The program includes “Ticket Twosdays,” which will offer consumers a free second movie ticket when they buy one at full price for a Tuesday showing, as well as priority pre-sale access for concert tickets and other surprise entertainment benefits.