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Thom Browne Four Stripe Garments
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Jury Rules Thom Browne Does Not Infringe adidas Stripe Branding Trademark

This story was originally published on January 5, 2023.

Update January 13, 2023: The court case between Thom Browne and adidas over the latter’s stripe branding has concluded. The jury ruled that Thom Browne’s usage of stripes does not infringe on adidas trademarks, and therefore the NY label is not liable for the nearly $8 million adidas were seeking.

‘We are pleased that the jury found that at no time did Thom Browne Inc. infringe on any of adidas’ trademarks. For over 20 years now, Thom Browne has been a pioneering force in luxury fashion, bringing a wholly unique and distinctive design aesthetic that combines classic tailoring with American sportswear sensibilities. We look forward to continuing to design and provide the creative products that have become the hallmark of the Thom Browne label,’ said a spokesperson in a statement supplied to WWD.,

German sportswear giant adidas have taken NY label Thom Browne to court over the latter’s use of stripe branding, something the former have been associated with for decades. They are seeking nearly $8 million in licensing fees and claimed profits.

As reported by WWD, adidas filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against Thom Browne back in June 2021, with proceedings ongoing. The former alleges that the latter is benefiting from ‘selling athletic-style apparel and footwear featuring two, three or four parallel stripes in a manner that is confusingly similar to adidas’ three-stripe mark’.

Various Thom Browne garments have featured four parallel horizontal stripes since 2008, having previously used three. The label’s then-CEO made the change after being approached by adidas. Lawyers for the brand argue that it operates in a different market to adidas.

Despite this, adidas are seeking $867,225 in licensing fees and $7 million in claimed profits that Thom Browne have generated from continued usage of their four-stripe branding.

‘Three stripes are not the same as four horizontal bars,’ said Thom Browne lawyer Robert Maldonado. ‘[adidas] fell asleep at the wheel and woke up too late.’

The dispute continues in the courts, with testimonies from Thom Browne himself and company CEO Rodrigo Bazan expected to come.

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