When one thinks of Adidas, one inevitably thinks of . But does one think of Adidas, when one sees this ?

Confused?! Don't be. In simpler words, the question was whether the three stripes, used in any direction are closely associated with the German sportswear manufacturer Adidas? Adidas has sought to protect the three parallel stripes as their trademark. The trademark was granted by the EUIPO. However, in a dispute between Adidas and Shoe Branding Europe, a Belgian company, the validity of this Logo was challenged. It was declared invalid by the EUIPO Board of Appeal for lack of distinctiveness. Adidas then appealed to the General Court, contending that the Logo had acquired distinctive character due to its extensive and continuous use. It also presented several proofs to show the extensive use of the mark globally. Accordingly to Adidas's claim, the Logo of three stripes was so closely associated with Adidas, that the general public associated a logo of three stripes with Adidas alone.

However, the General Court was observed that the actual use of the marks was different from the form in which the marks were sought to be registered. This did not help in making the Logo inherently distinctive and closely associated with Adidas. Further, the evidence of use submitted by Adidas was also insufficient to prove that the mark of three-stripes could be closely associated with Adidas only. The relevance of its use could not be proved in more than 5 EU member states. Hence, Adidas's appeal failed.

Compiled by: Adv. Sachi Kapoor | Concept & Edited by: Dr. Mohan Dewan

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