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[author: Brent Lorentz]
Adidas recently sued Wolverine for infringement of Adidas’s three-stripe trademark. Wolverine, as many of you will know, is not merely a kick-ass comic book character, but also a purveyor of footwear under various brands including Merrell, Cat, Footwear, and Hush Puppies. According to Adidas, Wolverine’s four-stripe design is infringing Adidas’s three strip trademark. Examples of shoes identified in the Complaint are shown below:
As Steve Baird previously noted, Adidas has apparently developed (or is at least claiming) a one-stripe buffer on its three-stripe mark. However, notwithstanding its previous successful actions against two-stripe and four-stripe designs, it appears Adidas is now trying to monopolize any diagonal design elements for shoes. I admittedly see the potential for confusion with a couple of the designs depicted above, but some of them appear to be a stretch. Additionally, it appears that diagonal elements are structural and or functional in at least some of the designs above. It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact this would have on the decision.
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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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