Adidas has suffered a massive blow in the EU General Court this week after the court ruled that one of its three striped trade marks is not valid.
The decision comes on the back of a trade mark dispute between the sportswear brand and Shoe Branding Europe, a Belgian footwear company.
In 2014, Adidas applied to register the three striped trade mark with the EU intellectual property office for clothing, footwear and headgear. The mark in question was a figurative depiction of three parallel stripes applied on a product in any direction. The application proceeded to registration but was soon after challenged by Shoe Branding Europe which applied for the registration to be annulled.
Shoe Branding Europe is the owner of a company called Patrick, a European sports brand that was founded in 1892. Shoes and clothing sold under the Patrick brand incorporate two parallel stripes which slope in the opposite direction to those of Adidas.
In order to have been successful at the EU General Court, Adidas had to prove its trade mark had acquired distinctive character throughout the EU, regardless of in what direction the trade mark was applied. Unfortunately for Adidas, it failed to show the mark held distinctive character and thus the mark will now be removed from the register.
The ruling came with obvious disappointment for Adidas; however, this does not mean the end of its three-striped trade mark. Adidas has a wealth of registered trade marks which are all still valid. It is not yet known if Adidas will appeal to the European court of justice.
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