After in 2021, the German multinational company Adidas sued the American fashion designer, Thom Browne for using very similar stripes in their designs. Now the sportswear brand must pay 7.8 million dollars after Judge Jed Rakoff’s ruling against him.
Adidas claimed that since the 1970s its designs had always been characteristic of three stripes but, with Thom Browne’s four-stripe models customers could easily confuse brands. For that reason, the Adidas lawyers demanded an amount of $867,225 in damages, Y $7 million more on which according to the German company, Browne would have generated from the sale with the use of the stripes.
Nevertheless, the decision of the Court of the Southern District of Manhattan, surprised Adidas. The judge had declared that at no time did the luxury brand infringe against the property of the German company, and that it was not responsible for the damages, nor for the benefits it obtained by selling its garments marked with four stripes and tricolor ribbons.
This would not have been the first time that both brands had clashed over the intellectual use of the stripes. The debate was generated approximately 15 years ago when in 2007, Adidas asked Thom Browne to change the design from three stripes to four, By then the American company had given in to the request for the sports brand.
Then in 2018, the same situation reappeared, FC Barcelona had hired the luxury clothing brand to wear some clothes off the field, the costume design was two vertical stripes. This bothered Adidas who filed an application for opposition to the Trademark Office of the European Union.
Until two years ago, when the German company filed its lawsuit again, this time requesting a large sum of money. During this latest legal battle Thom Browne knew how to defend himself by claiming that they are not a competitor of Adidas“clients are not confused because we are luxury design and Adidas is a sports brand,” said his lawyer.
However, the legal representatives of Adidas announced that they were disappointed with the verdict “we will continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including the presentation of the corresponding appeals,” said their spokesperson.
Just as they have done with other brands, such as Puma, Payless and Skechers, which in recent years have received lawsuits from Adidas, for allegedly infringing their brand’s intellectual property rights for shoe designs.
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Source: La Opinion