Adidas has officially lost its legal battle with luxury brand Thom Browne. The sportswear giant sued the luxury brand for using a four-stripe design that they claimed was "confusingly similar" to its signature three-stripe design. The final verdict came more than a year after Adidas filed an $8 million dollar lawsuit against the luxury brand. Let's take a closer look.
So what was the confusion all about? Thom Browne's designs often showcase four horizontal and parallel stripes seen somewhere on the brand's outwear pieces, whereas Adidas' designs see three stripes on most of their clothing items and shoes. The sportswear company claimed that the similarities were too identical and, therefore, would cause confusion for consumers when shopping. However, Browne's legal team argued that the two brands have very different price points and customers. For example, a pair of Browne's men's sneakers cost $700 dollars, whereas an average pair of men's Adidas costs somewhere between $100 and $150 dollars. Robert T. Maldonado, Browne's attorney, also noted that stripes are a very commonly used design in all fashion brands.
Even though Adidas slapped the luxury brand with the lawsuit back in 2021, the legal battle has actually been ongoing for more than 15 years! Back in 2007, the sportswear brand expressed its concerns over the fact that Thom Browne was using a three-stripe design on its outerwear pieces, so the company agreed to add on another stripe and call it a day. However, Adidas wasn't a fan of this solution, and the luxury brand even decided to stop using the design for a few years - but eventually, they brought it back. In 2018, Adidas re-visited the subject when Browne filed a trademark for the "Grosgrain Signature" and sued the company for using a similar design.
After a nine-day trial in Manhattan, the luxury brand emerged victorious and will continue to use the common stripe pattern. Browne's attorney added the sportswear giant never provided proof that its use of the stripe design harmed its sales. According to a representative from Adidas, the brand is "disappointed with the verdict" but will "continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals." Stay tuned.