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Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger Challenge Thom Browne’s Application for a Stripe Trademark


March 8, 2021

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As reported by The Fashion Law, Adidas recently filed a notice of opposition with respect to a trademark application filed by American fashion designer Thom Browne in the United States. Adidas alleges that Thom Browne’s parallel stripes design is “confusingly similar” to its three-stripe mark “in appearance and overall commercial impression”.


Adidas first registered its three-stripe logo for use on cleats in 1949 and has enforced the intellectual property rights associated with the stripes ever since. Adidas’s confusion claim rests on the argument that the use of its mark on apparel has gained an established reputation and is sufficiently familiar to consumers.


In addition to the claim of potential confusion, Adidas also opposes the application on the ground that the proposed mark may dilute the distinctiveness of its brand and the exclusive association of the striped mark with Adidas.


Tommy Hilfiger has also opposed Thom Browne’s application, alleging, among other things, that the marks at issue are ineligible for trademark protection as they are not source-identifying devices, but rather are “design elements of goods”. In addition to opposing the use of the mark on Thom Browne’s apparel, Tommy Hilfiger has opposed its use in connection with a Thom Browne fragrance.

Authors: Nargis Fazli and Sam Galway

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