Thom Browne Wins Court Case With Adidas Over Stripes Trademark

Thom Browne Wins Court Case With Adidas Over Stripes Trademark

January 13, 2023
Dom Challis

Adidas sued Thom Browne in 2021 and claimed the New York City fashion house’s four-bar and “Grosgrain” stripe patterns on its shoes and activewear violated Adidas‘ three-stripe trademark. 

Adidas have now left this court case unsuccessful as a jury in Manhattan have officially found that the German sportswear brand failed to show Thom Browne has infringed Adidas’ three-stripe trademark. 

The jury found that Thom Browne‘s parallel stripe designs were not likely to cause consumer confusion or deceive the public.

One of the main argument Thom Browne made was that their designs consist of a number of different stripes and that stripes are a common design pattern for clothing.

Adidas have a history of suing other labels for infringement of their stripes trademark. The German sportswear brand has in fact filed more than 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements since 2008 regarding the trademark.

According to a court filing, Adidas not only requested a court order stopping Thom Browne from using the stripe designs, but were prepared to ask the jury for more than £6.5 million in damages, plus additional punitive damages and a slice of Thom Browne’s infringing sales. 

Thom Browne stated that the companies’ designs were unlikely to cause confusion as they “operate in different markets, serving different customers, and offer their products at strikingly different price points.”

Thom Browne had previously used a three-bar design on its apparel, but changed it to the four-stripe design after Adidas objected in 2007. 

An Adidas spokesperson explained that the company was disappointed with the decision, but will “continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals.”

Personally, I’m happy to see Thom Browne win this one, Adidas shouldn’t get away with suing every clothing company that dares use any sort of stripe design on their clothing.  

So if you’re a fan of Thom Browne‘s four-bar or “Grosgrain” design, rejoice as it’s not going anywhere just yet.

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