White Adidas shoe being worn

Luxury fashion brand strikes a win against Adidas in trademark battle

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. The case was between luxury fashion brand Thom Browne, Inc. and activewear giant Adidas over allegations of trademark infringement of Adidas’ signature “Three Stripe” design.
  2. Adidas sought millions of dollars in damages and an injunction against Thom Browne, while Thom Browne denied infringing Adidas marks and accused Adidas of being an “overzealous enforcer”.
  3. After an eight-day trial, the jury ruled in Thom Browne’s favour, finding that it wasn’t liable to Adidas for trademark infringement or dilution. It offers a glimpse at how a jury perceives the boundaries of trademark infringement and dilution. It serves as a reminder for companies to protect their trademarks and guard against infringement allegations.

Full Article

In a landmark case involving the renowned fashion house Thom Browne Inc., acclaimed for its impeccable tailoring and designs, a jury has ruled in favour of the company, finding it not guilty of trademark infringement in a dispute with sportswear behemoth Adidas over its iconic “Three Stripes” trademark. Despite Adidas’ well-known vigilant protection of its Three-Stripe Mark, the company could not secure millions of dollars in damages or an injunction to prevent Thom Browne from using or selling apparel featuring the three-stripe motif.

During the trial, it emerged that Adidas took issue with two particular Thom Browne designs: the Grosgrain Signature, which showcases five white-red-white-blue stripes on a grosgrain ribbon, and the Four Bar Signature, which consists of four parallel white lines. Adidas alleged that these designs could lead consumers to believe that they were affiliated with Adidas before or after purchasing the products. On the other hand, Thom Browne countered this argument, accusing Adidas of adopting an overly aggressive stance in safeguarding its Three-Stripe Mark, both in terms of legitimate claims and perceived threats.

The jury’s decision, which absolved Thom Browne of any liability for trademark infringement or dilution, sheds light on the intricate process of determining whether consumers are likely to confuse one company’s purportedly infringing apparel with another’s. Judge Jed Rakoff instructed the jury to rely on their own common experience and consider several factors, including the similarity between the trademarks, the accused apparel designs by Thom Browne, and any related evidence. This case serves as a reminder for companies to be vigilant in protecting their intellectual property rights while guarding against infringement claims from others.