August 22, 2016 / 11:17 PM / a year ago

Citigroup, AT&T end litigation over 'thanks'

A Citibank ATM is seen in Los Angeles, California, March 10, 2015.Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc (C.N) and AT&T Inc (T.N) have ended a court battle over whether the "AT&T thanks" customer loyalty programme infringed Citigroup's trademark in the phrase "thankyou."

According to a Monday filing with a Manhattan federal court, the companies have dropped claims against each other with prejudice, meaning they cannot be brought again.

Citigroup sued AT&T in June, calling "AT&T thanks" too similar to the "thankyou" that the New York-based bank had used since 2004 on its own customer programs.

AT&T countered that Citigroup has no monopoly over the word "thanks" and sought a court order to that effect.

The resolution may help preserve a relationship between Citigroup and AT&T dating to 1998 that includes 1.7 million U.S. customers with co-branded credit cards.

A woman looks at her mobile next to AT&T logo during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 25, 2016.Albert Gea

"We have decided not to pursue this matter any further and look forward to continuing to work with AT&T," Citigroup spokeswoman Jennifer Bombardier said in a statement.

AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said: "We consider the matter closed."

The case was dropped 11 days after U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan rejected Citigroup's request for a preliminary injunction against "AT&T thanks."

She said Citigroup did not show that "AT&T thanks" would necessarily confuse customers or cause it irreparable harm, though "AT&T thanks" and "thankyou" share some letters and pronunciation, and both "convey a message of gratitude."

The case is Citigroup Inc v. AT&T Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-04333.

Reporting by Andrew Chung and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Andrew Hay

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