Adidas Suing APL For Three-Stripe Trademark Infringement

After winning a preliminary hearing against Skechers last month, Adidas is heading back to court, this time with a new opponent.

Adidas has filed a lawsuit against Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), accusing the brand of infringing upon its trademarked Three-Stripe Mark.

According to documents filed Monday in Portland, Oregon, Adidas alleges that APL’s merchandise could “cause confusion” or “deceive the public” because it has “sold footwear bearing four stripes.”

APL has not responded to a request for comment.

The lawsuit points to APL’s Blade basketball sneaker and TechLoom Pro training style as items that are “confusingly similar imitations of Adidas’ Three-Stripe Mark.” Adidas has also included illustrations of several patents it holds for the Three-Stripe Mark.

APL Blade Basketball Shoes
APL Blade basketball shoes.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

The lawsuit mentions that the Three-Stripe Mark has been associated with Adidas’ sponsorship of artists including Katy Perry and Kanye West, as well as athletic teams, NFL stars and NBA stars, among them Von Miller, Aaron Rodgers, James Harden, John Wall, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose.

According to Adidas’ claims, the Three-Stripe Mark has totaled billions of dollars in sales internationally and hundreds of millions in the United States alone. The brand also says “the purchasing public has come to associate the Three-Stripe Mark with Adidas.”

Adidas Superstar sneakers
Adidas Superstar sneakers.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.
Shoes for National Running Day
Adidas Ultra Boost.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Foot Locker.

Adidas believes that consumers may mistake APL’s styles for Adidas footwear and that this is “inflicting irreparable harm on the goodwill symbolized by the Three-Stripe Mark and the reputation for quality that it embodies.”

A court date has not yet been set. In its complaint, Adidas is seeking damages and for APL to cease producing the styles in question.

Last month, Adidas won a case in the Court of Justice of the European Union, allowing the brand to oppose the registration of parallel stripes on the side of sports shoes.

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