Adidas Files ‘Three Stripes’ Suit Against Brand Owned by Sister of Toms’ Blake Mycoskie

Adidas is back in court over its three-stripe logo.

According to a complaint filed in Oregon federal court on Dec. 17, the sportswear giant claimed that Venice, Calif.-based clothing brand Aviator Nation infringed on its trademark by using “confusingly similar imitations” of the design on its own jackets, tops, bottoms and other merchandise.

In the lawsuit, Adidas wrote that the allegedly infringing apparel — from the fashion company founded in 2006 by Paige Mycoskie, sister of Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie — was likely to “deceive the public regarding its source, sponsorship or affiliation.” The Germany-based athletic brand alleges trademark infringement, counterfeiting and dilution as well as unfair competition, injury to business reputation and breach of contract.

Adidas said it had learned in 2011 that Aviator Nation was selling apparel bearing a three parallel stripes design. The two firms had entered into settlement agreement executed in April 2012, with Aviator Nation agreeing not to produce, manufacture, promote or sell the allegedly infringing pieces.

However, six months after the deal, Adidas said that it was again made aware that Aviator Nation had been selling merchandise that displayed three stripes. The brands signed a letter agreement in January 2013, upon which the ’70s-inspired label was ordered to stop using the design.

Despite the 2012 and 2013 agreements, Adidas wrote in the complaint that it learned in May 2018 that Aviator Nation started using three-stripe designs again. It added that its counsel had sent a letter claiming breach of contract to Aviator Nation that July and subsequently engaged in discussions to resolve their dispute. However, Adidas said that Aviator Nation had continued to manufacture and sell the allegedly infringing apparel.

“The likelihood of confusion, mistake and deception engendered by [the] defendant’s misappropriation of Adidas’ famous three-stripe mark is causing irreparable harm to the goodwill symbolized by the three-stripe mark and the reputation for quality that it embodies,” noted Adidas, which said that it had been using the “Three Stripes” design since 1952 and owns federal registrations for its use on apparel, accessories and footwear offerings.

Adidas is seeking punitive damages and has asked the court to order Aviator Nation to stop offering as well as recall all products that bear marks allegedly similar to its three-stripe design.

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