Sparring Over Stripes: The adidas v. Thom Browne Trademark Trial

Sparring Over Stripes: The adidas v. Thom Browne Trademark Trial

On the 1st working day of the trademark trial between adidas and Thom Browne Inc., vogue designer Thom Browne confirmed up to courtroom donning some of the pretty apparel his eponymous firm was remaining sued over—a pair of black, calf-significant socks with four stripes. On January 12, a jury in the Southern District of New York found that Browne’s 4-stripe structure does not infringe on adidas’ 3-Stripe trademark, capping a nine-day trial filled with perfectly-dressed witnesses and ample activewear to fill an Equinox.

The Stripes

adidas owns a number of emblems for its “Three-Stripe Mark” covering several styles of apparel and footwear. Thom Browne is a high-finish vogue designer, with outfits retailing for 1000’s of dollars. For many years, Browne has provided different stripe models on luxury sweatpants, socks, and sweaters, most prominently using a four-stripe style and design and a “grosgrain” structure.

Pictures from best remaining: Browne’s sweatpants, adidas’ sweatpants, Browne’s shorts, adidas’ sneakers, and Browne’s sneakers. All images derived from adidas’ grievance in this scenario (see Grievance, adidas America Inc. v. Thom Browne Inc., No. 1:21-cv-05615 (Dkt. 1) (S.D.N.Y. June 28, 2021).

The Dispute

This was not the initially time these parties have squabbled around stripes. In all-around 2006, previously in Browne’s profession, he utilised a 3-stripe style. adidas questioned him to stop. He extra a fourth stripe. In 2018, adidas approached Browne—this time objecting to his 4-stripe layout. All over this time, Browne’s 4-striped designs have been prominently showcased on pre-game attire for athletes and the designer had moved into the “athleisure” market place. Settlement negotiations involving the get-togethers broke down, which prompted adidas to file fit in June 2021 trying to get $8 million in damages from Browne.

adidas sued Browne for trademark infringement and dilution. adidas claimed that the similarities involving Browne’s numerous stripe designs and adidas’s three-stripe trademark may confuse or mislead clients. adidas’ grievance alleged that “Thom Browne has . . . encroached into direct competitiveness with adidas by presenting sportswear and athletic-styled footwear that bear confusingly comparable imitations of adidas’s 3-Stripe Mark.”

In tumble 2022, the functions cross-moved for summary judgment. adidas moved for summary judgment on Thom Browne’s affirmative defense of laches, acquiescence, and estoppel, and its fourteenth affirmative defense, which asserted that adidas deserted the A few-Stripe Mark. Thom Browne moved for summary judgment on its initially affirmative defense of laches, acquiescence, and estoppel. Choose Jed Rakoff entered summary judgment in favor of adidas dismissing Thom Browne’s fourteenth affirmative protection of abandonment. Judge Rakoff dismissed the part of Thom Browne’s initially affirmative defense asserting acquiescence and estopped, but denied summary judgment to both get together on Thom Browne’s to start with affirmative protection of laches.

The Trial

Decide Rakoff presided more than the demo. adidas introduced evidence exhibiting practically 30{a0ae49ae04129c4068d784f4a35ae39a7b56de88307d03cceed9a41caec42547} of persons surveyed believed that the disputed Thom Browne merchandise have been linked with adidas. Thom Browne testified that he is influenced by sporting activities in his models. Whilst adidas argued that Thom Browne had leaned into the sportswear industry, Browne’s team sought to dispel the idea that the makes had nearly anything in common. Browne’s lawyer instructed the jury that Browne and adidas contend in “different worlds,” comparing a $50 pair of adidas sweatpants to a virtually $800 pair by Browne and arguing that the manufacturers are not opponents. In closing arguments, Browne’s lawyer informed the jury that “adidas does not personal stripes.” The jury agreed, discovering Browne’s firm was not liable for trademark infringement or dilution.

The scenario is adidas The united states Inc. v. Thom Browne Inc., S.D.N.Y., No. 1:21-cv-05615.


In closing arguments, Browne’s legal professional instructed the jury that “adidas does not have stripes.”