As the trial that began last week neared its conclusion, jurors ruled on Thursday afternoon with a not-guilty verdict in regard to the menswear designer’s use of parallel lines. They found no evidence that it had infringed upon Adidas’ three-stripe trademark or caused confusion among consumers.
In 2021, Adidas filed a lawsuit against Thom Browne citing that their four-stripe design infringed upon their trademark three-stripe logo which they first registered in 1949. On the other hand, Thom Browne argued that shoppers would not be likely to mistake its luxury fashion items for those of Adidas’ more mainstream selection.
In addition, Zegna’s brand argued that they had been utilizing the four-stripe motif since 2007 and contended that Adidas should have initiated legal proceedings much sooner.
In a recent statement, Thom Browne’s spokesperson proclaimed-
“We are pleased that the jury found that at no time did Thom Browne, Inc. infringe on any of Adidas’ trademarks. For over 20 years now, Thom Browne has been a pioneering force in luxury fashion, bringing a wholly unique and distinctive design aesthetic that combines classic tailoring with American sportswear sensibilities.”
Last Thursday, Adidas made a bold claim that they are owed $8 million in damages. In the statement released on that day, the company said:
“We are disappointed with the verdict and will continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals.”
Adidas is the fourth-largest sports apparel company in the world with more than $25 billion in annual sales. Meanwhile, Thom Browne is a smaller luxury fashion house, but this case has set an important precedent that consumers are unlikely to confuse its high-end products with those of Adidas’.
This news comes as a blow to Adidas’ efforts to protect its iconic stripes. It is possible that the sports giant will appeal the ruling, but for now it looks like Thom Browne has emerged victorious in this battle of trademarks.
Adidas and Thom Browne are both respected names in their respective industries, and everyone was watching as the two giants clashed in court over design rights. In the end, however, justice prevailed and Thom Browne has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The case serves as an important reminder that design rights are a crucial part of any brand’s intellectual property. Going forward, companies will need to be even more vigilant in protecting their trademarks and logos from potential infringement.
It is worth noting that although Adidas has lost in court, its three-stripe mark remains very much intact – a testament to the strength and lasting power of the brand.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of this case in terms of legal precedents and how other companies proceed in the future. As of now, though, Thom Browne has emerged victorious in its trademark case against Adidas.
It remains to be seen how Adidas will respond and whether or not they will appeal the ruling.
Only time will tell where things go from here.
Shivendra Tiwari is an Engineer and an MBA in Marketing. He is the Content head at Marketing91 and a thorough Online Marketing enthusiast. Shivendra loves to follow different brands and study their Business and Marketing tactics.