The German sportswear producer Adidas lost a trademark lawsuit against the famous designer Thom Browne in the US.
The dispute concerns an accusation by Adidas that Thom Browne uses a four strips design pattern that is confusingly similar to the famous three stripes pattern used by the German company that was initially introduced in 1952. For this pattern, Adidas owns a bunch of trademarks around the world including in the US.
Thom Browne uses four stripes pattern for his clothes now but in 2007 he settled a dispute with Adidas because he had used three stripes the years before.
The main issue with the current lawsuit was whether the four stripes pattern is confusingly similar to the three stripes one and what’s more whether this four-stripe design is not actually three-stripe if only the black stripes were counted.
The court dismissed the infringement claim stating that Adidas failed to prove that consumers would be confused between both patterns. One of the reasons was that both companies are not direct competitors. Thom Browne’s products are only high-priced while those of Adidas are affordable by most people. In addition, other companies used different patterns with stripes too, that is to say, this was not uncommon practice as a whole.
Source: The Guardian.