Adidas Scores a Victory in Ongoing Three-Stripes Dispute in EU

THREE’S A CROWD: Adidas has scored a trademark victory in the European Union – although the battle isn’t over yet. The General Court of the European Union said this week that the German sporting goods giant can object to another company applying for trademark registration for a design similar to Adidas’ three-stripe detailing.

The ruling this week was the latest development in Adidas’ ongoing trademark battle with Belgian footwear company Shoe Branding. The latter is seeking to register a two-stripe design on a plain trainer that Adidas considers too similar to its trademark three stripes, which appear on the sides of its sneakers.

The court said in a statement that given the similarity between the two designs, there is a likelihood that customers might establish a link between the two brands’ products, which Adidas believes would damage its brand image.

Shoe Branding initially filled the application in 2009 and later in 2011 with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. It wanted to register two EU trademarks, one for footwear and the other for safety footwear. Adidas opposed the registration of those trademarks. By 2015 and 2016, EUIPO ruled in favor of Adidas and barred Shoe Branding from registering the two trademarks.

The case moved to the EU General Court. On March 1, the General Court said its judgment “dismisses the actions brought by Shoe Branding Europe against EUIPO’s two decisions and thereby confirms the latter.” Adidas did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Friday.

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