Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile to the USA) has used magenta (No. 395 52 630 "magenta" or RAL 4010) for designating its services and in its advertising since September 12, 2000 when it registered it on the basis of a proven secondary meaning for goods and services in the field of telecommunications.
Now, my feeling is that a patent is only as good as the money you have to burn defending it -- getting L'eggs to remove all their magenta packaging for their hosiery, or Taco Bell to change the color of the Bell is going to be a bit of a trick. But it does mean that they can create a nuisance, just as when McDonalds sued a member of clan McDonald for their tea shop in Scotland.
After years of discussion and worry that it will have a chilling effect on the Internet they got the patents last June (7,386,555 & 7,353,229). It should be interesting to see them sue news agencies like CNN and entertainment portals like the Internet Movie Database which is owned by "One click" patent holder Amazon.
The "One Click" patent, by the way, is where you click on a link from an external website that takes you right to the checkout process on Amazon's website. Somehow they patented the simple HTML link from what I gather... I know it's more complicated than that... I really hope it's more complicated than that.
Then there's the whole world of genetic patents. When I went in for my CAT scan last month, I had to sign a release form allowing the docs to use any samples they got from me for medical experiments, and if they created some wonder drug based on my DNA, they would own my DNA.
I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, there's no way I could create a wonder drug from my colon, but on the other hand, if some competing pharmaceutical wants to pay me a million for a piece of my ass so they can try to make their own wonder drug, I should be able to do that, but now I can't.
I've been seriously considering applying for a process patent for the process by which an individual or group uses muscular pressure to exchange air in an organic chamber.
I get a nickel every time you take a breath or I'll sue.