"How many stripes am I holding up?" (or, "Adidas continues its trademark reign of terror...")
When a brand purports to have trademark rights in three parallel stripes, one can imagine that it will have to file an awful lot of lawsuits to maintain an association in consumers' minds between the claimed mark and the requisite "single source" (i.e., the brand.) But there's no need to use one's imagination, as Adidas makes this very claim, and is just about as litigious as a trademark owner can be. For previous LAW OF FASHION posts on the ongoing three-stripe debate, see this, this, and this.
Now, Adidas has filed another lawsuit, this time against footwear company Wolverine, which owns (among other brands) Hush Puppies, CAT Footwear, and Merrell. Apparently, Adidas does not have much faith in consumers, as its recent Complaint alleges a likelihood of confusion (one requirement for a successful trademark infringement claim) between its registered marks
and shoes with designs ranging from two
to an indeterminate number
of stripes. Leaving aside the potential aesthetic functionality issues here, is it really plausible to claim that the relevant consuming public can't tell two from three from four? And if it is, in fact, plausible, what does that say about Adidas's customer base?
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