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Adidas wins ‘three stripes’ trademark dispute

Adidas has won the latest round in an ongoing trademark battle with Belgian footwear company Shoe Branding over its three-stripe trademark.

An EU General Court Ruling, published on 1 March, ruled that Shoe Branding’s application to register two-stripes on a plain trainer could not be allowed as it was likely to be confused for Adidas’s iconic three stripes.

The court said shoppers would associate the stripes with Adidas, allowing Shoe Branding to take unfair advantage of Adidas’s brand value and that could damage its reputation.

Shoe Branding originally applied to register the two-stripe mark in 2009. In 2015, the General Court noted the similarity between the two marks and sent the dispute back to the EU Intellectual Property Office for further consideration.

The footwear company has one final appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Simon Bennett, partner at law firm Fox Williams, said: “The take home here is if you try to do something similar to one of the big brands, they will go after you.”

He added that Shoe Branding must have thought its mark was sufficiently different to have applied for the trademark in the first place. “If they had not tried to register it as a trademark, it might have been less contentious.”

Adidas has previously won a case against high street retailer H&M to prevent from using two stripes on its tracksuits.

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