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Adidas loses court battle against Thom Browne over three-strip design

Chloe Burney
13 January 2023

It has been ruled that Thom Browne’s parallel stripe designs were "not likely to cause consumer confusion with Adidas' products", putting an end to the court trial that began on 3 January 2023.

A Manhattan jury said that Adidas failed to show how luxury brand Thom Browne Inc's use of stripes on its clothing infringed its signature three-stripe trademark.

Thom Browne argued that the brands "operate in different markets, serving different customers, and offer their products at strikingly different price points."

Not only this, but the designs in question have a differing number of stripes. The fashion house previously used a three-bar design on its clothing, however it switched to the four-stripe design after Adidas objected in 2007.

Bloomberg Law reported that Robert Maldonado, one of Thom Browne's lawyers, argued during closing statements that Adidas “does not own stripes.”

thom Browne

Thom Browne leaving court on 3 January 2023

According to court documents, Adidas planned to ask for £6.4 million ($7.8 million) in damages, plus additional punitive damages and a cut of Thom Browne's infringing sales. It also hoped for a court order to stop Thom Browne from using the designs in the future

A spokesperson for Adidas said that the company was disappointed with the outcome but will "continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals."

Adidas also sued New York designer Thom Browne's brand in 2021 over its four-bar and "Grosgrain" stripe patterns on its shoes and activewear.

This is only one example of Adidas' trademark battles. The company has filed over 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements since 2008 in relation to the trademark.

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