7 Things to Know About the Adidas v. Thom Browne Stripes Trial

Adidas America Inc. is a subsidiary of adidas America Inc.

The trial of the brand’s trademark complaint against the company started in the year 2023.

The Southern District Court in Manhattan hosted the kick off Tuesday.

The trial in front of Judge Rakoff began with attorneys on each side laying out their opening arguments to a jury, which will decide if the New York-based luxury designer is in violation of Adidas’ trademark for its signature three parallel stripes pattern.

The seven things to know are related to the Adidas case. The trial of Mr. Browne is underway.

What Adidas is Claiming

In June of 2021, Adidas filed a lawsuit claiming that Browne’s four-stripe designs were confusingly similar to the company’s three-stripe mark.

According to the pre- trial consent order, Adidas alleges that Browne’s use of certain parallel stripes on apparel and footwear is in violation of its three-stripe mark and constitutes unfair competition.

Adidas claims that the four-bar andgrosgrain designs by Browne are in violation of its trademark rights.

Adidas first objected to the use of three parallel stripes on its products in May 2007, and then objected to the use of the four-bar designs in May 2018, according to the company.

According to the lawsuit, the two parties have been engaged in good faith discussions to find a solution to the dispute, but were unable to do so.

At the trial, Adidas is expected to introduce examples of consumers reacting to images of the “accused products” online, as well as on social media, with references to adidas.

Some of the examples reflect actual association and confusion, according to the company.

The American fashion brand’s own documents and witnesses are expected to be used by Adidas to show that the four-stripe design was adopted with full knowledge of the three-stripe design.

Thom Browne’s Defense

According to the pre- trial document, Browne will present evidence through fact and specialized witness testimony regarding the use of stripes, including three stripes and other numbers of stripes, throughout history and even today as a common design element.

The crowded field of stripes on clothing and footwear necessitates that consumers be more careful when evaluating products with stripe marks as well as narrowing the scope of trademark rights that Adidas claims it owns.

The fashion brand stated that the evidence of both parties will show that Adidas does not have a presence in the high-end luxury end of the market, and that Thom Browne has sold clothing that Adidas labels as well.

What Thom Browne Needs to Prove to Win

In order for Browne to prevail at trial, the company must show that between spring 2010 and May 2012 (the relevant laches date), when it first offered one of the accused products for sale.

As a result of the sportswear company’s failure to object during that two-year window, Thom Browne suffered material economic or evidentiary prejudice, according to the order.

What Adidas Needs to Win

In the pre- trial document, Adidas must prove that it was unaware of any accused products during the two-year window and that it had already settled its dispute with Thom Browne over a three- stripe design.

According to the court document, Adidas has to show that Browne has been increasing the number and type of products that are sold in direct competition with it.

Adidas Seeks Nearly $8 Million in Damages

If the two brands had worked together, Adidas claims it would have received licensing fees and royalties of $867,225, as well as more than 7 million dollars in profits.

Both parties have agreed not to discuss the controversy with each other.

According to the pre- trial consent order, both Adidas and Thom Browne have agreed not to introduce evidence or discuss the recent controversies involving Adidas with both of the above mentioned brands.

Both parties reserve the right to present evidence of their collaborations that are not related to the controversy, according to the document.

Adidas has the right to present evidence in rebuttal if it believes that it needs to explain the current status of either collaboration in response to evidence elicited by Browne, according to the document.

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