Adidas loses three-stripe trademark battle in European court

Logo first cross-file on a football boot in 1949 was not unique enough, says court

Adidas has been unsuccessful in an attempt to expand its trademark three-stripe design in the EU after national courts governed it was not ” peculiar ” enough.

The busines should not” demonstrated that that distinguish has acquired, throughout the territory of the EU, distinctive reputation following the use which had been made of it”, the general court of the EU said on Wednesday.

The three-stripe logo was first registered by Adidas’s founder, Adi Dassler, on a football boot on 18 August 1949, but the court said it was not sufficient to identify the products as were obtained from the brand.

The ruling is part of a long-running dispute between the German sportswear manufacturer and the Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe.

In 2014, Adidas was granted a trademark on” three latitude equidistant stripes of identical thicknes, exercised on the concoction in any direction” on dres, hats and shoes.

However, in 2016, Shoe Branding Europe applied to the EU intellectual property office for the logo to be annulled.

Mark Caddle, a logo solicitor at the European intellectual property firm Withers& Rogers, said Adidas had” failed to provide sufficient evidence goes to show that when checking three stripes on clothing, footwear or headgear, buyers immediately associate such concoctions with Adidas “.

Adidas, which can appeal to the European court of justice, said it was ” disappointed” with the find but still evaluating its implications.

” This find is limited to this particular its implementation of the three-stripe label and does not impact on the broad scope of protection that Adidas has on its well-known three-stripe mark in various forms in Europe ,” the company said in a statement.

David Stone, the world head of intellectual property at the law firm Allen& Overy, said the invalidation of the mark” won’t acquire much practical change on wall street” because Adidas has marks on the three-stripe logo in many specific positions.

He added that the occasion spotlit the challenge for well-known brands trying to gain protection across the EU.

” The overhead is enormous- and missing out Malta, for example, can prove fatal. The pendulum has probably swung more far in that tack, and it is capable of be time to accept that EU buyers do recognise these signeds as trademarks ,” Stone said.

It is not the first time Adidas has failed to protect the three-stripe motif. In 2003, it lost a dispute with the Dutch fellowship Fitnessworld, which was using a two-stripe design.

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Major corporations regularly go to court in efforts to protect their marks. However, these efforts can sometimes backfire.

In January, the Galway-based business Supermac persuaded the EU IPO to cancel McDonald’s use of the Big Mac trademark, opening the way for Supermac to expand across Britain and continental Europe.

In July last year, Nestle failed to trademark the specific characteristics of” four trapezoidal tables aligned on a rectangular locate”- also known as a KitKat.

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