Adidas Loses Trademark Lawsuit Over Stripe Design

Adidas lost a trademark infringement lawsuit over the sportswear giant’s famous “three stripes” logo design. Adidas brought the suit against Thom Browne, after it claimed the luxury fashion brand used the design without its permission.

The suit centered around Browne’s “Four-Bar Signature” stripes design, and the brand’s Grosgrain Signature, which was a red, white, and blue line pattern design. 

Browne’s team argued in court documents that its design featured five stripes, but Adidas lawyers said was just three.

The jury trial follows a 2021 lawsuit in which Adidas argued that activewear featuring Thom Browne’s striped motifs “imitates” its decades-old branding.

American designer Thom Browne founded his eponymous label in 2001 and is the newly appointed chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Browne even arrived at court wearing one of his signature four-striped socks. 

Browne initially debuted a three-striped design, dubbed the “Three-Bar Signature,” around 2005. According to court documents, his fashion brand agreed to cease using the motif after Adidas contacted the label’s then-CEO about the matter two years later.

In 2008, designer Browne debuted his disputed “Four-Bar Signature,” a series of four stripes that have featured on items ranging from jackets to neckties, as well as on activewear. 

Adidas is also challenging the use of Thom Browne’s “Grosgrain Signature,” which is the aforementioned red, white and blue design that the sportswear brand says consists of three stripes. But Thom Browne says it contains five, describing it as “white-red-white-blue-white,” in court papers.

Adidas claims it only became aware of the alleged infringement in early 2018 when Thom Browne applied to trademark the “Grosgrain Signature” in Europe. 

Adidas’ lawyers argue that the company had no duty to monitor Thom Browne’s output and did not initially consider the label to be a direct competitor.

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