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Adidas Trademarked Stripes Can’t Go Sideways, EU Judges Rule

Adidas AG lost a European Union court fight for broader trademark protection of its iconic three-stripe logo.

The sportswear giant’s trademark on three slanted bands doesn’t apply to stripes going vertically, horizontally or other directions, the EU General Court in Luxembourg ruled on Wednesday. The company failed to show such branding had a “distinctive character,” the court said.
It’s not the first time the company has been in the EU courts. The bloc’s top judges in 2008 favored Adidas in a dispute with retailers about their rights to sell clothing with stripes similar to its three-striped design. Three years ago, the top EU court decided the company may be able to fight the use by rivals of parallel stripes on the side of sports shoes.
Adidas said it’s “disappointed” but that the ruling “is limited to this particular execution of the three-stripe mark and does not impact on the broad scope of protection that Adidas has on its well-known three-stripe mark in various forms in Europe.”Wednesday’s ruling concerns an EU trademark registered in 2014 but later annulled following the successful challenge by a Belgian company.

Reporting by Stephanie Bodoni.