Sportswear giant Adidas has filed a complaint with the US Trademark Office to reject an application for a Black Lives Matter trademark featuring three parallel stripes. Adidas argued that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s yellow-stripe design would create confusion with its own famous three-stripe mark, potentially misleading the public. The German company sought to block the group’s application to use the design on goods, such as shirts, hats, and bags, that Adidas also sells. The company has filed over 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements related to the three-stripe trademark since 2008, according to court documents from a lawsuit it brought against designer Thom Browne’s fashion house. However, a jury in that case decided in January that Browne’s stripe patterns did not violate Adidas’ trademark rights.
In its filing, Adidas stated that it has been using its logo since as early as 1952, and that it has acquired “international fame and tremendous public recognition”. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is the most prominent entity in the decentralised Black Lives Matter movement, which arose a decade ago to protest police violence against Black people. The group applied for a federal trademark in November 2020, covering a yellow three-stripe design to use on a variety of products, including clothing, publications, bags, bracelets, and mugs.
Adidas claimed that the group’s design was confusingly similar to its logo, and that consumers would likely think their goods were connected or came from the same source. The Trademark Office has given the Black Lives Matter group until May 6 to respond. Adidas declined to comment on the filing, while representatives for the Black Lives Matter group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In summary, Adidas has filed a complaint with the US Trademark Office to reject a Black Lives Matter trademark featuring three parallel stripes, arguing that it could mislead the public and create confusion with its own famous three-stripe mark. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation applied for a federal trademark in November 2020, covering a yellow three-stripe design to use on various products, including clothing, publications, bags, bracelets, and mugs. The Trademark Office has given the group until May 6 to respond.
Main Image: Wall Street Journal
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