Adidas Can’t Change Its Stripes; Will Thom Browne Change Their Stripes?


For years Adidas and Thom Browne have been engaged in litigation, claiming both trademark infringement and brand dilution.  Adidas has alleged that Thom Browne’s expansion beyond its typical formal wear into sportswear and athletic leisure wear poses a likelihood of confusion between the brands’ striped marks.  Recently, a New York federal magistrate judge gave a green light for the most-recent case to proceed for these mega brands to battle it out in a court.  To be successful, Adidas will have to convince a judge that Thom Browne's products could genuinely be mistaken for Adidas products, diluting the impact of Adidas' branding.  This may not be a slam dunk case based on the fact that the price of a Thom Browne tracksuit is 10 times more than that of a similar Adidas product.  This suit is part of an ongoing dispute between the brands for more than three years around the globe. Thom Browne has also made an offensive move overseas and filed a suit in a London court to revoke Adidas’ U.K. trademarks covering three-stripe design. This isn’t Adidas’ first lawsuit regarding their three-stripe designs, as it has previously filed suits against Forever 21, J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, Puma, Sketchers, Bally, Marc Jacobs and others.