MetLife Drops Restraining Order Request Against AT&T

Hours after filing suit to prohibit AT&T Wireless from using “mLife,” MetLife withdrew its request for a temporary restraining order, according to a representative for the insurance company. In return, AT&T Wireless agreed to withdraw its application for a federal trademark for “mLife.”

The two companies are meeting to discuss the matter this week, MetLife representative Toni Griffin said.

On Friday, MetLife filed suit against AT&T Wireless asserting that the wireless provider’s new advertising was “confusingly similar” to its own. In papers filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the insurance company contended that AT&T Wireless’ brand campaign could have a “dilutive effect on MetLife’s established trademarks” and cause “irreparable harm to the company.”

If a temporary restraining order had been granted last week, AT&T Wireless would have been banned from unveiling its new multi-million-dollar campaign from Ogilvy & Mather in New York during the Super Bowl Sunday. A spot, which broke during the third quarter, emphasized cutting the cord by taking viewers on a accelerated tour of belly buttons. The effort, which uses the theme mLife, had been introduced in a series of unbranded TV, newspaper and outdoor ads during the last month.

“Last time we checked, everyone is still free to use the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, ‘m,’ ” AT&T Wireless said in a statement, adding that MetLife’s claims are without merit.

In the suit, MetLife further contended that AT&T Wireless’ TV and print ads have a similar look and theme to its “have you met life today?” ad campaign. Additionally, MetLife’s ads address issues such as enhancing life significance in an emotional way as do current “mLife” ads, the statement said.