The classic Adidas stripes can only go diagonally, orders an EU court

Adidas lost a battle to the General Court of the European Union for greater protection of its iconic three-striped logo.

The registered trademark of the three-striped diagonal sportswear giant does not apply to stripes that go in a vertical, horizontal or other direction, the bloc’s court in Luxembourg ruled on Wednesday. The company could not prove that the brand had a “distinctive character,” said the justice authority.

It is not the first time that the company resorts to the EU courts. The highest court of the supranational institution in 2008 favored Adidas in a dispute with retailers over rights to sell clothing with stripes similar to its classic design. Three years ago, the court ruled that the company can challenge the use of parallel stripes on the sides of sports shoes by rival brands.

Adidas said it was disappointed but said the decision “is limited to this particular execution of the three-striped brand and does not have an impact on the broad scope of protection that Adidas has for its well-known brand in various ways in Europe.”

The ruling on Wednesday refers to a trademark registered with the EU in 2014 but then canceled after a successful appeal by a Belgian company.

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