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Thursday, Sep 28, 2023

Adidas withdraws opposition to Black Lives Matter three stripe design

Adidas withdraws opposition to Black Lives Matter three stripe design

The sports clothing company had tried to stop the prominent BLM group from registering a three-stripe trademark used on items it also sells, such as bags and clothes, for fear it could likely "cause confusion" among consumers.

Adidas has withdrawn its opposition to a three-line Black Lives Matter (BLM) trademark.

The German sports design giant had asked the US Trademark Office to reject a trademark application by Black Lives Matter, which featured three parallel lines, just two days before the U-turn.

"Adidas will withdraw its opposition to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation's trademark application as soon as possible," a company statement said.

Adidas had told the US Trademark Office that Black Lives Matter's design so closely resembled its iconic three-stripe trademark that it was likely to cause confusion and consumers may believe the Black Lives Matter items may be made or connected to Adidas.

Adidas has previously sued Thom Browne over its stripe design but were unsuccessful in the court case


It sought to prevent the design being registered as a trademark and used on items that Adidas sells such as T-shirts and bags.

The group seeking the trademark, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, is the most prominent entity in the Black Lives Matter movement, which comprises groups across the world with no central, governing body.

The organisation had applied for a federal trademark in November 2020 for a yellow three-stripe design to use on products including clothes, publications, bags, bracelets and mugs.

The Black Lives Matter movement was launched 10 years ago in protest to police violence against black people.

The three-line design has been used by Adidas since 1952 and has been defended in court multiple times since then. More than 90 lawsuits have been brought and more than 200 settlements have been agreed since 2008, according to court documents from a lawsuit brought against designer Thom Browne and his design brand.

That case was successfully defended in January when a jury found in favour of Thom Browne.

Last month Adidas revealed plans for a huge cut to its shareholder payments as it dealt with the expensive fallout from its failed partnership with rapper and designer Kanye West.

The company admitted it was still yet to decide what to do with a mountain of unsold Yeezy runners, the legacy of its split from West, following antisemitic, and other offensive remarks, he made in October.

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