Adidas’ trademark doesn’t qualify for trademark protection – EU court rules

Last Updated at: Dec 23, 2020

We have had our share of trademark news – tough legal battles like Paytm vs Paypal or Lego vs Lakeshore, trademark denials like Subway’s “Footlong” mark and now the recent to join the row is Adidas. The German sportswear brand’s famous “three-stripes” trademark has been proven invalid by the European Union court, owing to the reason of its “ordinary figurative mark”

The company had filed for trademark registration for  “three parallel equidistant stripes of equal width applied to the product in whichever direction”. It now has trademark protection for its slanted three-stripe logo.

In 2014 Adidas had filed for trademark registration for its clothing, footwear and headgear, saying it consisted of “three parallel equidistant stripes of equal width applied to the product in whichever direction.” And this was initially approved by the EU Intellectual Property (EUIPO) authorities. However, a Belgium-based shoe company had challenged the trademark was not distinctive enough. After two years the EUIPO, siding with the Belgium company, cancelled its acceptance of the trademark.

Register Your Trademark

The court denied the mark stating that it acquired unique characteristic only in five EU nations out of the 28-country bloc.

Also, Adidas has witnessed a series of high-profile “three-stripe” lawsuits in the past. A popular New York-based designer changed the number of stripes from three to four after  Adidas filed a case against him. Another major battle was with US footwear brand Skechers for the look-alike Stan Smith tennis shoe. However, Adidas partially won the case it continued filing infringement suits against Skechers, which in turn filed a countersuit in late 2018. In 2015, Adidas filed a case against fashion designer Marc Jobs accusing him of producing sweatshirts with four-striped marks on sleeves. The sports brand stated that the t-shirts intentionally mislead and deceived customers.

Can GST be refunded? When can GST refund be claimed?

The GST refund amount can be sanctioned within three months when you submit the claim without any error. Understand the procedure for GST registration and GST returns here.

What is the support available for collateral free borrowing?

The government of India has facilitated enough support for the MSMEs to get credit without the necessity for any collateral or third-party guarantee. More on Income Tax Return Filing.

My employer deducts and deposits TDS on my behalf. Do I still need to file my Income Tax Return?

To know about the outstanding due and the refund amount available, one can file the income tax returns when the income exceeds the exemption limit. Learn more about ISO Certification.

ISO 9001 certification is valid for how many years?

Though the certification is legal for 3 years, the certification body would conduct surveillance audit after first and second year. More info on NGO Registration in India.

Can a Trustee take salary from trust fund?

A Trustee is not supposed to draw fund for purposes other than Trust related activities. Drawing compensation higher than market rates is punishable. More about Udyog Aadhar Registration.

A lawyer with 14 years' experience, Vikram has worked with several well-known corporate law firms before joining Vakilsearch.