Adidas can prevent other companies using two stripes on the shoulders of their shirts, even though Adidas branding has three stripes.

Adidas can prevent other companies using two stripes on the shoulders of their shirts, even though Adidas branding has three stripes.

The European Court of Justice ruled that "the mere fact that the relevant section of the public establishes a link between the two is sufficient". The case was brought in the Netherlands by Adidas against C&A, H&M, Marca Mode and Vendex.

The long history and reputation of Adidas appears to have been a factor. Lawyers say that other manufacturers may struggle to take advantage of this ruling, because few types of branding have as long a history and reputation as Adidas' three stripes.


"They're trying to distinguish a distinctive logo, such as the Nike swoosh, against a non-distinctive brand such as three stripes," said Gary Assim, head of intellectual property at Shoosmiths Solicitors.

"But the three stripes have built up distinctiveness. Its reputation spans 70-odd years, so it's difficult not to associate three stripes with Adidas."

Adidas welcomed the ruling and stressed that it was not trying to prevent all use of stripes.

"We do not seek to prevent the use of decoration, but the use of striped markings that confuse consumers, or cause them to make a link with our company," Anne Putz from Adidas told the BBC.

The court confirmed that what was important was whether consumers associated another company's clothing with the Adidas brand, not how similar the designs looked.

"The national court must determine whether the average consumer may be mistaken as to the origin of sports and leisure garments featuring stripe motifs in the same places and with the same characteristics as the stripes motif of Adidas, except for the fact that they consist of two rather than three stripes," the ruling said.


Comments (8)

  1. fsc

It\'s correct!

  1. fsc


  1. fsc

It\'s bizarre. Adidas\'s three stripes have been around for seventy years; how long have two stripes been around? Probably forever. It\'s a bizarre decision that surely won\'t be repeated in other countries.

  1. Francesco

so LEGEA will not use 2 strpes anymore.<br />I think it\'s right,for adidas and better for other brands,that using 2 stripes looks like copying adidas

  1. fsc

So are Adidas going to take K-Swiss to court because they have 5 stripes and could be mistaken as an Adidas product with 3 stripes (especially on trainers)?<br /><br /> :-?

  1. fsc

It Is Completely stupid and i think its naugty of adidas to do that especially when adidas is one of the leading sports names in the world! :-?

  1. fsc

An inferior company trying to confuse a consumer with a certain number of stripes into thinking the brand is adidas deserves to be crushed.

  1. Pras

After saw this kit, I think the shirt does look better without the nike swoosh logo

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