Adidas says Black Lives Matter design violates three-stripe trademark


Sneaker giant Adidas has asked the U.S. Trademark Office to reject an application for a Black Lives Matter trademark featuring three parallel stripes, arguing it could mislead the public.

Adidas told the office in a Monday filing that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc’s yellow-stripe design would create confusion with its own famous three-stripe mark. It sought to block the group’s application to use the design on goods that the German sportswear maker also sells, such as shirts, hats and bags.

 Adidas declined to comment on the filing. Representatives for the Black Lives Matter group did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Adidas said in the filing that it has been using its logo since as early as 1952, and that it has acquired “international fame and tremendous public recognition.”

Adidas 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 the company brought against designer Thom Browne‘s fashion house.

A jury in that case decided in January that Thom Browne’s stripe patterns did not violate Adidas’ trademark rights.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is the most prominent entity in the decentralized 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 said in its Monday filing 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 gave the Black Lives Matter group until May 6 to answer.

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