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Adidas Responds to Forever 21’s Counterclaims in Ongoing Trademark Dispute


November 11, 2019

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It has been two years since Adidas filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 alleging Forever 21 was selling garments and accessories that infringed Adidas’s “three-stripe” trademark.


In response, the fast-fashion brand, which has recently filed for bankruptcy, counterclaimed and argued that, because the mark is only decorative, and is not used as an indicator of any particular source, the Adidas trademark is invalid. In response, adidas has disputed this claim, and stated that the mark is “a source identifier that adidas has carefully cultivated through its investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and promotions, including its sponsorship of athletes, sports teams, musical artists, and fashion designers.”


Adidas, seeking summary judgment against Forever 21, has characterized Forever 21’s behaviour as a violation of “repeated contractual promises to respect Adidas’ trademark rights” and has described both Forever 21’s defence and counterclaim as “baseless”. Adidas has also argued that, even if the three-stripe design were being used only ornamentally, as Forever 21 claims, such a design is still “a strong and famous source indicator” of the brand that sets Adidas products apart and is, therefore, worthy of protection under the law.

Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Matt McDonald

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