Thom Browne Takes Aim At Adidas’ Three Stripes In Heated Trademark Battle
By Alexa Heah, 13 May 2022
In June last year, Adidas filed a lawsuit against Thom Browne, alleging the fashion house’s use of its four stripes motif “imitated” the former’s trademarked Three Stripes.
According to Input, the original complaint listed Adidas as accusing Browne of capitalizing on its “extremely valuable goodwill” that had been funded through “millions of dollars” of marketing campaigns, and pointed out the brand’s expansion into athletic apparel and footwear using the motif could “deceive” consumers.
Now, as the luxury label refutes the sportswear giant’s claims, it’s taken things a step further, even suggesting that Adidas should lose the protections for its Three Stripes motif altogether.
As per The Fashion Law, Browne claimed Adidas had been aware of its four stripes since 2007, when it changed from the use of “three horizontal parallel bands” to “four horizontal parallel bands” at the conglomerate’s behest.
It was only in 2018 that Adidas brought the matter to court, in response to which the New York-based line said consumers had no confusion between its four stripes and Adidas’ famed three.
Plus, it said both brands target “entirely separate markets” and “vastly different price points,” making them non-competitors.
In fact, Rodrigo Bazan, Browne’s CEO, told WWD that Adidas had given it permission to use the motif for at least 12 years, though this has yet to be confirmed by a spokesperson from the sportswear brand.
Noting that “numerous third parties use stripes, in multiple variations and iterations, on clothing and footwear,” Browne then went on to challenge that Adidas’ ability to make trademark claims should be removed entirely, especially as it was an “overzealous enforcer.”
The label is now asking for the complaint to be dismissed and to be reimbursed for the costs incurred due to the lawsuit.
Will the matter finally rest? Or will Adidas get to enforce its Three Stripes trademark on any brand that uses horizontal lines in its designs? The decision could be a momentous one for the fashion industry.
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