Create a free Industrial Equipment News account to continue

Adidas Accused of 'Monopoly' on Striped Clothing

It seems Adidas would sue even a tiger for its stripes.

Whether you grew up a fan of soccer or Run DMC, there is something familiar and identifiable about the striped logo of sportswear maker Adidas. In the 1950s, the company’s founder Adi Dassler started using three stripes on shoes and it sort of went from there.

Over the years, the business, like any, has gone to lengths to maintain its brand through trademarking, but now Bloomberg is reporting that Adidas is starting to get some pushback for what one other company is calling a monopoly on all striped clothing.

Over the years, Adidas has sued everyone from athletic wear industry rivals like Nike and Sketchers, to unlikely foes like the electric carmaker Tesla, who had the audacity to kick around a stripy logo for its Model 3, before shifting gears and also avoiding litigation. Recently Adidas has been in the news for its aggressive pursuit of Puma and its cleat adorned with four stripes. Yes, four. The reality is, they do have a trademark on using stripes in a certain way, though it seems subject to some interpretation.

Well this time, Adidas is after fast fashion retailer Forever 21 – an organization that’s been beating back Adidas’s attempts to sue them for over ten years – and it appears the apparel company has had it with the threats. In late February, after Adidas threatened to go after Forever 21 over six striped garments, the company fired back with its own suit, saying in the complaint that the Adidas threats have increased to encompass virtually any item of clothing with decorative stripes, including those clothing type that the athletic apparel maker is not known for making. In the complaint, Forever 21 goes on to call Adidas a bully and says “enough is enough.” They want a judge to decide whether Adidas is allowed to claim that Adidas, alone, has a monopoly on all striped clothing. And if not, then the company might have to cease its threats of infringement.

I’m Anna Wells and this is IEN Now.

More in Regulation