Adidas Withdraws Trademark Filing Against Black Lives Matter Over Three Stripe Design
Adidas has been going after just about everyone who uses parallel stripes in their designs Most recently, the company sued designer brand Thom Browne, though the court ruled in Browne's favor.
Recently, Adidas reportedly pursued legal action against the Black Lives Matter organization for using three stripes in designs, though now The Guardian reported that Adidas has withdrawn that trademark dispute.
It was a quick reversal. The Guardian reported that last week Adidas filed on March 27 that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation would create confusion by using the three stripes. But, just two days later, Adidas dropped the opposition.
Adidas says Black Lives Matter design violates its three-stripe trademark https://t.co/nB0W1Tg1ep
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 29, 2023
"Adidas will withdraw its opposition to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation's trademark application as soon as possible," a spokesperson said, according to The Guardian, though they did not give a detailed explanation for the decision.
However, a source reportedly said that "the U-turn was prompted by fears people could misinterpret the objection as criticism of BLMGNF's mission."
BLMGNF filed a trademark for the three yellow stripes in November 2020, with the plan that it would be used on branded merchandise like apparel, bags, bracelets, drinkware, and more.
Adidas has taken court action to block a trademark filed by Black Lives Matter for its "Three-Stripe" logo.
Per the court filings made on March 27th, Adidas claims the Black Lives Matter stripes are too similar to its own.
— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) March 28, 2023
Adidas countered that last week by claiming that the design "incorporates three stripes in a manner that is confusingly similar to the three-stripe mark in appearance and overall commercial impression."
The company has been using that design since the early 1950s, and claims that it has garnered "international fame and tremendous public recognition," and therefore customers would assume that BLMGNF merchandise would be affiliated with Adidas.
The three striped design used by BLMGNF is much closer to Adidas than Thom Browne's four stripes. And a court found that Browne's design was not similar enough to Adidas to cause any problems for the German sportswear brand.
However, it makes sense for Adidas to withdraw this filing, as it could look to some like they were in opposition to BLMGNF's mission. Especially now on the heels of Adidas parting ways with Kanye West/the Yeezy brand over the rapper's recent political stance, Adidas is smart to avoid any negative press that it can.