Adidas AG v. Globe International Nominees Pty Ltd., 2015 FC 443

Adidas appealed from a decision of the Registrar rejecting their opposition of the LEFT STRIPE DESIGN and RIGHT STRIPE DESIGN applications from Globe. These designs are generally intended for footwear, bags clothing and sporting goods. The application was restricted to the likelihood of confusion on footwear only.

It was found that adidas established a well-known, if not famous, reputation in its 3-Stripes Design as applied to footwear in Canada. However, this notoriety worked against adidas, as the Court found that “when a trademark becomes so well known or famous that the public is so familiar with it and readily identifies that trademark as used in the marketplace on goods and/or services, it may be that even as a matter of first impression, any differences between the well-known mark and another party’s trademark, as used on the same or similar goods and/or services, may serve to more easily distinguish the other party’s trademark and reduce any likelihood of confusion”.

On this basis, the Court found the Registrar did not err in finding sufficient dissimilarity between the contested marks, and a finding that there was no reasonable likelihood of confusion.