The “three stripes” trademark of Adidas was declared invalid

When the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) registered the trademark in 2014, in its application form Adidas described the trademark as “three parallel equidistant stripes of equal width applied to the product in whichever direction”.

In 2016, a Belgian company called Shoe Branding Europe BVBA submitted an application for the declaration of invalidity of the trademark, based on the fact that it had no distinctive character (not taken by itself or acquired by use) and Adidas was unable to prove that it would have acquired distinctive character throughout the EU through its use. At that time, EUIPO had cancelled the trademark, which, in June 2019 was also declared invalid by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The court stated that the mark was not a pattern but an “ordinary figurative mark” and it was not relevant to take into account specific uses involving colours. The court said that the evidence relating to the trademark’s use in five EU countries does not prove that the trademark in question was used throughout the territory of the Union.

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