adidas wins legal dispute over stripes
adidas has gained legal security for its three-stripe branding.
The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed a claim from a Belgian footwear company to be allowed to market sports shoes bearing two stripes. Following a long-running dispute, adidas – well known for its three-stripe branding – eventually won the support of the Court in Luxembourg.
The appellant had argued that the use of two stripes rather than three, and the fact that its use of different-length stripes made its footwear look adequately different from adidas products to avoid identification problems. Nevertheless, the Court ruled that sufficient similarity existed to possibly confuse consumers.
Some adidas shoes featured three stripes in 1949. Two years later, Finnish sporting goods supplier Karhu sold its three-stripe trademark to adidas for the equivalent of £1,236 and two bottles of whiskey.
This article was originally published on page 3 of the April 2016 issue of SATRA Bulletin.