Federal Judge Rejects NYU Langone’s Trademark Claim Over Purple Color Usage

New York, NY – A federal judge has dismissed New York University’s (NYU) claims against rival Northwell Health, stating that the allegations were “vague and overbroad.” NYU Langone Medical Center accused Northwell Health of infringing on its signature purple color in advertising materials. However, U.S. Manhattan District Judge Valerie Caproni ruled that NYU’s trademark suit lacked a concise argument for trademark infringement. The judge highlighted that NYU’s own ads feature various color schemes, including teal and orange with touches of purple.

Both NYU Langone Medical Center and Northwell Health are competing for patients in Long Island and parts of Manhattan. NYU, with its longstanding association with purple, refers to its sports teams as the “Violets” and prominently features the color on its website and torch logo. However, Judge Caproni rejected NYU’s argument, stating that their allegations were too broad and confusing, making it difficult for competitors to determine if their advertising falls within the allegedly infringed trade dress.

Northwell Health welcomed the court’s decision, with Ramon Soto, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, criticizing NYU for wasting resources with baseless claims. In response, NYU Langone stated that they are pleased the court acknowledged that they may have a case against Northwell’s imitation of their distinctive advertising. The university’s spokesman, Steve Ritea, emphasized that Northwell’s use of NYU’s reputation is misleading to patients seeking exceptional healthcare.

The legal battle between these regional medical giants is far from over, as Judge Caproni left the option for NYU to file an amended complaint. For now, Northwell Health has emerged victorious, with the judge granting their motion to dismiss NYU Langone’s complaint, which also included allegations of false advertising and unfair competition.

This decision reflects the complexities of trademark disputes in the healthcare industry, where distinct branding and competition play a significant role. NYU and Northwell Health will continue to vie for patients, both hoping to provide the best care while maintaining their own unique identities.