Adidas Drops Trademark Dispute With Black Lives Matter
Two days after Adidas objected to a trademark application by the advocacy group Black Lives Matter for a logo featuring three parallel stripes, the German sportswear company said that it would withdraw its opposition.
Adidas challenged the trademark application in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Monday. On Wednesday, the company said in an emailed statement that it would withdraw its opposition “as soon as possible.”
In the filing on Monday, Adidas said that it opposed the Black Lives Matter application because it showed a trademark that “incorporates three stripes in a manner that is confusingly similar” to the company’s familiar three-stripe logo “in appearance and overall commercial impression.”
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation filed the trademark application for a yellow three-stripe logo design in November 2020. The group is one of several organizations associated with the wider Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager.
The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In its statement, Adidas did not say why it was reversing its opposition to the trademark application.
In September 2022, the window opened for individuals and groups to file their opposition to the foundation’s trademark application. Adidas repeatedly sought to extend the window before submitting its notice of opposition on Monday, according to the filing.
Adidas said that it had been using a three-stripe mark on footwear since at least 1952 and that the design had been used in its partnerships with professional athletes, including Lionel Messi, James Harden and Patrick Mahomes. The company said the three-stripe logo had also been used in its collaborations with and sponsorships of celebrities, including Beyoncé, Selena Gomez and Bad Bunny.
In the filing, the company said that the public understood that the three-stripe mark “distinguishes and identifies Adidas’s merchandise.”
This short-lived trademark battle comes after a failed attempt by Adidas to challenge the fashion designer Thom Browne, who the company said used stripes in his designs in a way that was too similar to the Adidas stripes. In January, a federal jury in Manhattan ruled against Adidas.