Two or three stripes on clothing are Adidas' property

Two or three stripes on clothing are Adidas' property

Swedish store chain H&M can no longer use parallel stripes on its (sports) clothing, because they resemble Adidas’ three stripes too much, according to a The Hague court.

Cannot cross the line

There has been a long-standing dispute between H&M and sports clothing giant Adidas about the use of stripes in clothing. A Dutch court now settled the 20-year argument with a ruling, saying that Adidas’ three stripes are a registered trademark with no exceptions allowed.


Store chain H&M already scrapped its “Work Out” collection in 1997 after a court decided the two-striped collection (all along the pants’ legs and shirt’s sleeves) were too similar to Adidas’ famous stripes. The sports company felt this ban was not enough: for the past twenty years, it has demanded the Swedes sign a declaration that would keep it from breaching this ruling in the future. Up until now, H&M ignored the demand.


Even more so: H&M asked a The Hague judge to overturn the previous ban and cited small differences in the stripes’ colour and width. However, the court dismissed those claims: H&M will be forced to stay within the boundaries drafted by the previous ruling and cannot cross the line(s). Other companies have already settled with Adidas in this particular regard, namely Marca Mode, C&A Netherlands and Vendex KBB among others.

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