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Adidas Loses Trademark Case Against Thom Browne

Thom Browne campaign imagery featuring models wearing striped grey and white football kit.
Adidas and Thom Browne face off in court over use of stripes. (Thom Browne via Instagram)

Concluding the trial that began last week, jurors found Thursday afternoon that the menswear designer’s use of parallel lines on its designs did not infringe upon Adidas’ three-stripe trademark and cause confusion among consumers.

Adidas sued Thom Browne in 2021, alleging that the label is using a four-stripe pattern that violated its three-stripe logo trademark, which Adidas first registered in 1949.

Thom Browne argued that, as a luxury fashion brand, shoppers would not mix up its luxury apparel for that of Adidas’ more mainstream assortment. Moreover, the brand, owned by Italian fashion house Zegna, claimed that it has used the four-stripe motif since 2007, and that Adidas should have pursued legal action earlier.

“We are pleased that the jury found that at no time did Thom Browne, Inc. infringe on any of Adidas’ trademarks,” a Thom Browne spokesperson said in a statement. “For over 20 years now, Thom Browne has been a pioneering force in luxury fashion, bringing a wholly unique and distinctive design aesthetic that combines classic tailoring with American sportswear sensibilities.”

Adidas had sought $8 million in damages. It said in a statement Thursday: “We are disappointed with the verdict and will continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals.”

Learn more:

Why Adidas’ Lawsuit Against Thom Browne Is About More Than Just Stripes

The outcome of the case could expand the power to enforce trademarks across the fashion industry and beyond.

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