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Verdict: Stripes on Nike sports pants violate Adidas trademark rights

Verdict: Stripes on Nike sports pants violate Adidas trademark rights

The three stripes are the Adidas trademark. The sporting goods giant had sued its competitor Nike because the design of five pairs of pants was too similar. In one case, Adidas won.

The sporting goods manufacturer Nike is no longer allowed to offer a certain pair of sports pants in Germany because of their great similarity to the three-stripe design of their competitor Adidas. This was decided by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court in an appeal (case number I-20 U 120/23).

In the case of four other pairs of trousers, whose stripe design Adidas had also objected to, the court dismissed the trademark suit, thereby changing a ruling by the lower court. Unlike the Düsseldorf Regional Court, the Higher Regional Court saw sufficient differences between these trousers and the Adidas design. “Not every side stripe pattern on sports trousers should be prohibited,” the court said. The ruling is legally binding.

In 2022, Adidas believed that its trademark protection had been violated in the case of the five pairs of trousers and filed a lawsuit. The Düsseldorf Regional Court then issued a ruling prohibiting Nike from offering the trousers in Germany. The US company filed an objection. In September 2023, the Regional Court confirmed the decision, whereupon Nike appealed.

Source: Stern

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