|19 February, 2020

Saudi STC denies logo copycat claims, denounces ‘blackmail’ attempts

A statement issued by US-based CTS Corporation claimed that the new STC logo, launched Dec. 19, 2019, was a “direct copy of CTS’ logo

A man passes the Saudi Telecom STC office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 6, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A man passes the Saudi Telecom STC office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 6, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

LONDON: The latest episode of the ongoing dispute over the new Saudi Telecom Company (STC) logo witnessed a serious escalation with the US-based CTS Corporation filing an opposition proceeding in the Kingdom to protect its name and logo from trademark infringement by the Saudi telecom provider.

A statement issued by CTS claimed that the new STC logo, launched Dec. 19, 2019, was a “direct copy of CTS’ logo.”

“CTS promptly notified STC that its copycat logo caused irreparable harm to CTS’ valuable and established brand.”

“Although CTS and STC have discussed this dispute, regrettably STC has not engaged in a serious manner. Consequently, CTS has no choice but to initiate an opposition proceeding with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property to protect its valuable trademark. CTS remains open to a serious and productive settlement discussion,” the US company’s statement added.

For its part, the Riyadh-based STC issued its own widely circulated statement. Although it steered away from directly naming CTS, the statement published in several Arabic Saudi media outlets defended STC’s position and accused an unidentified firm of “blackmail.”

“STC is the owner of the group’s new logo, which is officially registered in Saudi Arabia and other countries,” the statement said.

“A firm has contacted STC, claiming trademark and logo infringement by the Saudi telecom operator. Following discussions with that firm, STC clarified that the firm only seeks to blackmail STC and realize financial gains from that claim,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, STC confirmed it will take the necessary legal procedures to protect the group and shareholders’ rights.

“We’re confident of our sound legal status. The new logo is fully owned by STC and is part of its identity,” the telecom operator added.

STC has worked for 18 months ahead of the official launch of the unified corporate identity in December 2019.

“The new brand is not just a logo, but a set of visual, audio and verbal communication tools and sensory expressions which translate an integrated experience about the company,” STC confirmed.

Elsewhere, Interbrand, a global brand consultancy that developed STC’s logo, said on its website that the telco’s brand does not violate the intellectual property of any entity.

The similarity between the two logos has been highlighted and criticized by several marketing experts and social media users since the new STC logo was unveiled last December. While some defended the Saudi telecom provider, others described the new logo a complete “rip off.”

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