NYU Langone sues Northwell over similarities in advertisements

NYU Langone Health is suing Northwell Health over the shade of purple it used in its advertising campaign, stating that the New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based health system copied its "distinctive advertising and marketing campaigns."

In a lawsuit, filed June 15 in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, New York City-based NYU Langone alleged that Northwell Health had identical advertisements as well as used similar accent colors and fonts that have been traditionally used by NYU Langone.  

"This is a clear violation of NYU Langone's branding and marketing, which even a casual observer would see as an attempt to copy our campaign," Steve Ritea, senior director of media relations of NYU Langone, told Becker's. "Northwell is intentionally trying to confuse the public and trade on NYU Langone's quality and safety reputation. It's a shameless effort reflecting poorly on their imagination and industry."

The lawsuit also alleged that Northwell has a pattern and practice of "copying NYU Langone's distinctive advertising and marketing campaigns, across various media, including, but not limited to, outdoor, digital, print, billboards, social, as well as email and fundraising communications." NYU Langone says this creates confusion about Northwell's association and affiliation with its organization. 

NYU Langone Health is seeking damages, attorney fees and a permanent injunction that would bar Northwell Health from using similar advertising, according to the lawsuit NYU Langone Health shared with Becker's

Ramon Soto, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for Northwell, told Becker's that NYU Langone Health's claims were "preposterous." 

"NYU Langone's claim that it owns the color purple for healthcare services is nothing short of preposterous. And it's an insult that part of the complaint includes a hospital's weeklong COVID-19 memorial for healthcare workers," Mr. Soto said. "Northwell Health is proud of its distinct branding, which uses a wide variety of colors, and how it leverages research, education and clinical excellence to differentiate from others in the market. Northwell is much more than just a color in our ads." 

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