The distinctive three-stripe design motif is a key part of the Adidas brand. However, the shoe company has had to fight hard in the past to protect its three-stripe trademark from both infringement and cancellation actions. The company has now taken action in the US against Swiss shoe brand Bally, with a second case against Los Angeles-based fashion retailer Nasty Gal likely to follow.
The Fashion Law has reported that Adidas is suing Bally for infringement of its trademark rights after the Swiss brand began to sell its own line of footwear featuring two, and in some cases three, parallel stripes on the side of the shoe. In its action, Adidas states that Bally must have been aware of its own famous three-stripe mark and had therefore consciously chosen to use the two and three-stripe designs in an attempt to: “cause consumer confusion and deceive the public regarding the source, sponsorship, or affiliation”.
Adidas has requested a jury trial and asked for Bally to immediately and permanently cease all sales, distribution and marketing of the allegedly infringing footwear, to deliver that footwear to Adidas for destruction, and to pay damages for the infringement.
Adidas had undertaken a similar action against Shoe Branding Europe in 2015 with the EU’s General Court ultimately ruling in Adidas’s favour. It is likely, but remains to be seen whether the US courts will rule similarly.
From shoes to skirts
Meanwhile, the same source reports that Adidas may be preparing to file a trademark infringement suit against clothing retailer Nasty Gal - this time in respect of the retailer’s use of three white stripes on a skirt design. Adidas produces a similar looking skirt, which it retails through sites such as ASOS.com, at a similar price.