Northwell Health fired back at rival NYU Langone Hospital on Tuesday in the medical behemoths’ legal battle — over the use of the color purple.
Northwell urged a federal judge in Manhattan to dismiss New York University Langone’s trademark lawsuit against it that claims Northwell has been ripping off NYU’s color scheme, including its purple hue in ads.
NYU Langone filed the suit against Northwell Health in June.
New York University is so linked to the color purple that “violets” is the nickname of its sports team, and the color is streamed across its web pages, including NYU Langone’s.
“NYU Violet is our principal brand color. It should be used in every communication and design,” the NYU website says.
“Violet is a distinctive color that has long been associated with the nonconformist who pushes boundaries to leave their mark on the world.”
But Northwell — New York’s largest health-care system — counters that NYU is in a delusional purple haze.
“Northwell filed a motion to dismiss NYU Langone’s unfounded lawsuit. NYU Langone does not own a trademark registration for any shade of purple for healthcare services, and its case is based on cherry-picking certain pieces of Northwell advertising to make false claims, including an attack on our hospital’s week-long COVID-19 recognition of health care workers,” Northwell said in a statement.
In its 25-page motion to dismiss the suit against it, Northwell Health lawyers said, “NYU Langone makes much of its and New York University’s use of the color purple, or more specifically violet, but does not allege that it owns trademark or other exclusive rights in that color.”
Northwell said it has a history of using a variety of fonts and colors from its copyright-protected Northwell “Constellation” logo, used to showcase accomplishments in research, education and clinical excellence to “differentiate ourselves from others in the markets — and we have been doing so since our 2016 rebrand.”
NYU stood its ground Tuesday, accusing Northwell Health of copycatting its ad materials to make purple rain — cash — off its reputation.
“In their motion, Northwell attempts to minimize their brazen copying of NYU Langone’s distinctive and recognizable advertising – including fonts, layouts, and color schemes – to confuse patients, who deserve the best care and the best outcomes,” said NYU spokesman Steve Ritea.
NYU Langone released images showing Northwell Health similar — if not identical — use of purple and teal color schemes in its ad campaigns that it alleges were knockoffs of the same hues in its ads.
The two medical powerhouses have rival hospitals in key markets in New York City and Long Island.
NYU Langone expanded services into Long Island, absorbing the former Winthrop hospital in Mineola in 2019 and rebranding it as NYU Langone Hospital- Long Island.
Northwell Health’s base is in Long Island and Queens, where more than half its 21 hospitals located there.
Meanwhile, NYU Langone’s main Tisch hospital and children’s and orthopedic facilities are based in Manhattan’s Kipps Bay and East Village neighborhoods.
Northwell Health operates Lenox Hill hospital on the Upper East Side.
“It’s no coincidence that this shameless mimicry began as NYU Langone substantially grew on Long Island, posing a perceived threat in the region,” NYU Langone’s Ritea said.