This week, the EU’s top court upheld the sportswear giant’s assertion that only they should have the right to use parallel stripes on the side of sports shoes within the 28-bloc European Union. The German based, multinational brand has been producing sportswear since 1949 and its Three Stripe logo was first registered in the same year as part of a shoe design.
But in 2009 a Belgian-owned sportswear brand Shoe Branding Europe trademarked a two-stripe design which led Adidas to take legal action in the General Court of the EU last year. The General Court ruled in favour of Adidas, prompting Shoe Branding Europe to file an appeal with the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which this week chose to uphold the lower courts findings.
The ECJ stated on Wednesday “Adidas may oppose the registration, as a Community mark, of parallel stripes placed on the side of sports shoes.” They also concluded that the General Court had acted with due process and was fully correct in its original ruling against Shoe Branding Europe. What this means for Adidas is that not only will Shoe Branding Europe have to change their design, but any other brand having a logo containing similar fundamental elements could also be at risk of similar legal action within the EU.