Adidas trademark ruling: the three-stripe saga continues


Christian Tenkhoff

Adidas trademark ruling: the three-stripe saga continues

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It is difficult to reconcile the EU General Court’s recent rulings in a case concerning Adidas’s three-tripe trademark with a previous decision surrounding five parallel stripes on a K-Swiss shoe, says Christian Tenkhoff of Taylor Wessing.

As reported by World IP Review last week, the EU General Court ruled (again) in favour of German sports brand Adidas in two cases involving its three-stripe mark for shoes. The cases form part of a long-lasting trademark dispute with the Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe.

In last week’s judgments, the General Court upheld Adidas’s oppositions against two trademark applications filed by Shoe Branding in 2009 and 2011. Both opposed marks featured two parallel stripes (tilted right) running from the sole edge of a shoe to the middle of the instep. The mark applied for in 2009 sought protection for regular footwear and had already made its way up to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) once before (see the previous report here). By contrast, the mark applied for in 2011 covered protective footwear only and had not previously been at stake before the EU courts.

Adidas opposed both marks based on its figurative EU trademark (EUTM) covering footwear and depicting a shoe with three parallel stripes (tilted left) placed between the sole and the laces. Adidas argued that use of the marks applied for would take unfair advantage of the repute of its three-stripe mark.

Adidas, trademark, shoe, fashion, Christian Tenkhoff, Taylor Wessing, EU General Court, sport, EUIPO