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Adidas fights the protection of its three-stripe mark yet again

Written by Mark Reed on 05 February 2019

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A US District Court has received a request to declare that a style of shoe owned by Sketchers does not infringe the Adidas stripe after a claim was filed against the footwear brand.

According to Adidas in a notice of infringement letter sent to Sketcher HQ, the new Goldie-Peaks shoe dilutes the trade mark because the two marks are too similar that would lead to the likelihood of confusion, a requisite of an infringement claim. Sketchers have responded by arguing that the claim is ‘baseless’ and that there are no grounds that would suggest consumers would confuse the two marks.

Skechers also have declared that shoe in question consists of one solid panel formed by four colour segments, which creates a very different visual impression from the three, equally-spaced stripes that appear in Adidas’s trademark and that each of the four segments on its shoe was a different, highly contrasting colour and has a different, highly contrasting finish, pattern and texture.

Adidas have sent further letters which are asserting that the overall commercial impression created by Skechers’ shoe is sufficiently similar to its three-stripe mark. The question of confusion has to be balanced against the similarity of the goods and services which in this case is footwear. This is then balanced against the similarity of the marks. It has been provided by Adidas that the point of issue in this instance is the three stripes. The court will then take into consideration the perception of the average consumer within the given market. Other factors that are taken into consideration are the complexity of the goods and services, the inherent distinctive qualities of the Adidas mark and the reputation of the its mark. Naturally, Adidas has one of the most well-known brands on the planet so reputation will not be something that can could be contested by Sketcher.

It is not the first time that Adidas have taken action for infringement of their trade mark. Over the years Adidas have fought and won many, many cases to ensure the famous three stripe mark is protected. It will be interesting to see how this case plays out and whether Sketchers can convince the court to declare that they do not have to cease the manufacturing and sales of the Goldie-Peaks shoe.

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