NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge on Thursday rejected Citigroup Inc's bid for a preliminary injunction to stop AT&T Inc from using the phrase "AT&T thanks" on a customer loyalty program, which the bank called too similar to its trademarked "thankyou."Offered without comment.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan said Citigroup has not shown that customers would likely be confused, or that it would suffer irreparable harm, if AT&T kept saying "AT&T thanks" while the bank's lawsuit continued.
She also said AT&T provided solid evidence that forcing it to start saying something other than "AT&T thanks" would cause an "expensive and significant disruption."
Citigroup had no immediate comment. AT&T said in a statement it was pleased with the decision, and maintained that "the law does not allow one company to own the word 'thanks.'"
The fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets sued AT&T on June 9, one week after the Dallas-based phone company launched "AT&T thanks" in a dispute that threatened to damage a co-branding relationship dating to 1998.
Citigroup said AT&T went too far, having known it would object after the New York-based bank had since 2004 extensively used "thankyou" on its own customer loyalty and reward programs.