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Adidas settles trademark case with Forever21

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Dec 12, 2017
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Adidas has agreed to an out-of-court settlement in a recent trademark case arising from the brands' long-term disputes concerning Adidas' allegations that Forever21 is wrongfully using the registered "three stripe" mark.


Forever 21 styles not authorized by Adidas - US District Court, Dist. of Oregon


In March of 2017, Adidas America sued Forever 21, Inc. as well as a group of its suppliers in Oregon, for using Adidas' registered "three stripe" mark. 

The complaint alleged trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices. Adidas asked the court to order Forever 21 to stop selling the product in question and demanded damages including lost profits, as well as punitive damages, a discretionary measure that the court can award as an extra form of punishment.

The complaint was initially sealed to protect proprietary information. In July the court unsealed the complaint and it was revealed that Adidas also alleged there was counterfeit, or "repurposed" product being sold by Forever 21. Adidas specifically pointed out track pants and shorts that had the three stripe mark.

Adidas wrote “The infringing apparel and footwear and counterfeit apparel imitates Adidas’s three-stripe mark... in a manner that is likely to cause consumer confusion and deceive the public regarding their source, sponsorship, or affiliation."

Adidas and Forever 21 have a decade-long history of fighting over stripes. Forever 21 wrote in a court document, "Since 2006, Adidas has commenced a pattern of complaining about striped apparel sold by Forever 21, and it has steadfastly increased its threats to encompass virtually any item of clothing with decorative stripes."

In 2015 Adidas first sued the LA-based fast fashion retailer for using its trademarked stripes, a lawsuit which was settled in early 2016.

At that time, Forever 21's legal team went on the offensive and asked a California court for a declaratory judgement saying it could use the stripes in question on "six items of clothing." Less than a month later, Adidas filed the current trademark lawsuit in Oregon.

Adidas actively sues over its trademarks in the US, a strategy intellectual property holders must employ to protect their rights in this country. The brand has already sued Ecco, Marc Jacobs, Skechers and Tesla for infringing on its registered thee stripe mark.

Terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.

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