Adidas' latest attempt to broaden its Three Stripes trademark in the European Union has proven to be unsuccessful.
According to Reuters, the brand attempted to expand its current trademark protection for its signature slanted Three Stripes branding to include "three parallel equidistant stripes of equal width applied to the product in whichever direction."
The General Court of the European Union upheld a prior 2016 decision by the European Intellectual Property Office that nullified a previous trademark acceptance registered by the German sportswear brand on 2014. This trademark was challenged by Belgium's Shoe Branding Europe, a company that features a slanted two-stripe mark on its products.
"Whilst we are disappointed with the decision, we are further evaluating it and are welcoming the useful guidance that the court will give us for protecting our three stripe mark applied to our products in whichever direction in the future," Adidas said in an official statement to Reuters.
While this decision does not halt Adidas from producing products, like its popular track pants with Three Stripes down each leg for example, it also doesn't prevent copycat companies from creating products with similar markings that could potentially be mistaken as official product. Adidas still has the ability to appeal the most recent ruling.
Intellectual property lawyer at Allen and Overy in Brussels Geert Glas told Reuters, "It’s a setback for Adidas, but it shouldn’t be the end of their three stripes trademark."