Adidas: the famous brand with three stripes is not distinctive enough!
In 2014, the sportswear company Adidas obtained registration of its European mark no 012442166, which consists of “three parallel stripes of identical width, applied in any direction” to designate clothing, footwear and headgear.
However, in the context of an nullity action initiated by Shoe Branding Europe BVBA, the EUIPO then invalidated its registration in 2016 on the ground that it was devoid of any distinctive character.
In its ruling of 19 June 2019, the General Court of the European Union upheld the decision, stating that the three stripes constitute "an ordinary figurative mark" and that they have not acquired “throughout the territory of the European Union, distinctive character following the use which had been made of it”.
Yet, this decision only concerns the mark no 012442166, Adidas still holds rights to the other versions of its three stripe mark.
Furthermore, Adidas can still appeal the verdict to the European Court of Justice.
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