German shoe giant Adidas has suffered a painful defeat against its much smaller Belgian competitor Patrick (owned by the Shoe Branding company), as the EU General Court decided three stripes in any direction are famous not enough to constitute a protected trademark.
Not famous enough
The three parallel stripes are recognised as an Adidas trademark in only a handful of the 28 EU countries, so they can be considered as no more than just decoration in the eyes of the law, the judge said according to FashionNetwork. The German company had asked to legally protect three parallel stripes in any direction on shoes, clothing and headwear in 2014, but that had already been rejected in 2016.
Last year Adidas had won a case against Patrick as the latter had asked for protection for two parallel stripes, exactly because the design is not distinct enough from Adidas' stripes.
Patrick, founded as Patrice in France in 1892, is said to be the oldest sports brand in Europe. Since 2008 it is owned by the Belgian Shoe Branding company.