EU 15 Aug 2019
After having appealed, Adidas has been rejected to register their three stripes. In a recent decision, the EU General Court declared that the trade mark lacks distinctiveness. When the decision came, this affected Adidas share price, which fell by about 1.5% at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
The German sportswear company Adidas’ significant logo consisting of three inclined stripes, led to the company being very well known as “the brand with the three stripes”. In order to extend their trademark protection, Adidas applied for and was granted an EU trademark registration in year 2014, for three parallel stripes, without orientation limitation (inclination) and without being inserted into the designed logo, as in the image above.
In 2014, the German sportswear company Adidas registered its classic three stripes to expand its EU protection. Following a cancellation action in the same year from the Belgian Shoe Branding Europe BVBA, the Cancellation Division at the European Intellectual Property Office EUIPO considered that the stripes were not sufficiently distinctive, thereby making the decision to cancel the registration. Adidas appealed to the Board of Appeal, and thereafter also to the General Court, though both instances shared the opinion of the Cancellation Division and the trademark registration was finally declared invalid in the General Court’s decision issued on June 19, 2019, based on lack of distinctiveness.
Adidas’ trademark consisted of three black stripes on white background. Adidas was however not able throughout the cancellation and appeal proceedings to prove that the mark had either original or acquired distinctiveness. Adidas still has a strong protection for their three stripes on clothes, shoes and more through other registrations.
Despite the fact that Adidas has a strong brand protection for its stripes and logos, it nevertheless had a negative impact on market capitalization.
The General Court’s decision can be appealed.