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Mishcon de Reya client Thom Browne successful in defending adidas claim

Posted on 13 January 2023

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Mishcon de Reya client Thom Browne, Inc has successfully defended a US court case brought by adidas over the former's use of stripes in its designs.

A judgment handed down in New York ruled that Thom Browne has not infringed the adidas signature three-stripe trademark and would not cause confusion for consumers when compared with Adidas products.

Thom Browne defended the claim by arguing that its designs have a different number of stripes and stripes are a common design element for clothing. It also argued that the two brands served different customers.

The dispute dates back more than 15 years to 2007, when adidas reached out in relation to a three-stripe design that Thom Browne was using a on its jackets. Thom Browne subsequently added a fourth stripe to its design.

Since it was founded in 2003, Thom Browne has established itself as a global brand, selling a range of clothing, footwear, accessories and a fragrance.

Mishcon de Reya acts for Thom Browne on similar trade mark proceedings in this jurisdiction.

Jeremy Hertzog, Partner and Head of Innovation at Mishcon de Reya, commented:

"We're delighted that our client, Thom Browne, has successfully defended itself against claims by adidas that it infringed their trade marks for three-stripe branding. Following a nine-day trial in New York, a jury delivered their verdict in less than three hours, concluding that Thom Browne was not infringing adidas marks.

This case has important implications for the scope of trade mark registrations and appreciation of the distinct niches occupied by brands in the fashion sector. Today's decision is a milestone in a dispute which has been running for over 15 years. The trial between adidas and Thom Browne in this jurisdiction (in which Mishcon de Reya act for Thom Browne) is expected to take place during 2024."

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