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Adidas Withdraws Complaint Against Black Lives Matter Logo Design

Adidas reversed course on Wednesday after filing a complaint with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Monday calling for the government organization to reject a Black Lives Matter application for a logo trademark featuring three yellow parallel stripes.

“Adidas will withdraw its opposition to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s trademark application as soon as possible,” the German sportswear company said in a statement emailed to FN on Wednesday.

In Monday’s complaint, Adidas argued that that the Foundation’s logo would “likely cause confusion” in the market, and ultimately sought to block the group’s application to use the design on goods that Adidas also sells, such as shirts, hats and bags.

“Consumers familiar with the goods and services long associated with the Three-Stripe Mark are likely to assume that the goods and services offered under Applicant’s Mark originates from the same source, or that they are affiliated, connected, or associated with or sponsored by Adidas,” the company said.

Black Lives Matter, three stripe logo
Black Lives Matter’s three stripe logo.CREDIT: U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

Reuters reported on Wednesday that an unnamed source close to the situation told the publication that Adidas retracted its complaint over fears that it could be seen as an objection to the cause of Black Lives Matter.

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Adidas did not comment further to FN on the opposition or retraction.

This is the latest legal situation for the company, which lost a trademark case against New York fashion designer Thom Browne in January. The trial, which was in Manhattan’s Southern District Court, centered on a 2021 trademark infringement complaint from Adidas against Thom Browne Inc.

Adidas claimed at the time Thom Browne’s four-stripe designs were “confusingly similar” to its three-stripe mark and violates the company’s trademark. Upon the final judgement, an Adidas spokesperson told FN hat the company is “disappointed with the verdict” and will continue to “vigilantly enforce” its intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals.

Today’s news also follows last week’s news that Adidas is reportedly ending its partnership with Beyoncé and her Ivy Park athletic brand following “major creative differences” between the two labels and a reported 50% decline in sales.

In the fourth quarter, the German sportswear company’s revenues fell 1% in currency neutral terms to 5.2 billion euros, reflecting a negative impact of around 600 million euro related to the loss of the Yeezy business.

Earlier this month, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden, who joined as CEO from Puma in January, made no efforts to hide his predicament. “Since I started here, I probably got 500 different business proposals for people who would like to buy the [Yeezy] inventory,” said Gulden. “But again, that will not necessarily be the right thing to do.”

Adidas officially parted from the brand and its controversial founder in October and has since grappled with mitigating debilitating sales losses and is sitting on $1.3 billion worth of unsold Yeezy product.