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Adidas Loses 3-Stripe Trademark Dispute Against Thom Browne

A feud 15 years in the making, the businessman can officially use stripes on apparel, footwear, and more.

The AdidasThom Browne legal saga has finally come to an end, with the luxury fashion designer coming out victorious against the iconic sportswear brand. On Thursday, a Manhattan jury made up of eight people took two hours to decide that Adidas failed to prove Browne’s use of the four-bar and “Grosgrain” stripe patterns violated its signature three-stripe logo.

In an ongoing battle that first began in 2021, Adidas was seeking $867,225 in damages to cover would-be licensing fees. The company was also asking for an additional $7 million for profits it believes Browne made from items bearing stripes.

“It was important to fight and tell my story,” Browne told The Associated Press following the decision. “And I think it’s more important and bigger than me, because I think I was fighting for every designer that creates something and has a bigger company come after them later.”

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According to Reuters, Adidas has registered over 90 lawsuits and agreed to 200+ settlement arrangements since 2008 related to the label. Browne once used three stripes on apparel but made the switch to four after Adidas complained in 2007. When the trial began on Jan. 3, Browne’s lawyers argued his company “does not compete with Adidas,” so they shouldn’t have to eliminate the stripe

“Thom Browne is a luxury designer and Adidas is a sports brand. Three stripes are not the same as four horizontal bars. [Adidas] fell asleep at the wheel and woke up too late,” Browne’s attorney, Robert T. Maldonado of Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks P.C. said.

In an emailed statement to The Associated Press, Adidas spokesman Rich Efrus expressed disappointment but vowed to continue advocating for intellectual property.

“We are disappointed with the verdict and will continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals.”

Both globally-recognized companies, Browne’s products span beyond the activewear pieces many commonly attributed to Adidas. Browne’s rolodex of famous clients include Cardi B, Alicia Keys, Harrison Ford, and new Bournemouth owner Michael B. Jordan.

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today and, most recently, Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.