Adidas Loses Trademark Case.


Thom Browne is a high end fashion designer who likes to use stripes on his creations. Adidas is an athletic wear company that identifies its brand with stripes. Adidas, with a trademark on the use of stripes on footwear and clothing, sued Thom Browne for trademark violation. Yesterday, a jury in Manhattan decided that there was no violation. Here is what the fight was about:

I had my own trademark run-in with an athletic wear company. Years ago, with dreams of a surf-wear empire, I filed an intent-to-use trademark for "LA SURF" (I also filed for NE SURF and NY SURF). The brand LA GEAR objected to the USPTO that "LA" clearly meant "Los Angeles" and was confusing with their brand. I overcame the objection by arguing:

LA has many meanings:

  • LA = Lousiana and other locations
  • LA = word in French, Spanish, Italian and other languages
  • LA = musical note

I won!

But our effort to create a successful surf wear business fell by the wayside after making a single run of the best lined jeans anyone has ever created anywhere anytime in the history of mankind. We sold approx 200 pairs before calling it quits.

I still wear mine all of the time during winter. They only cost me $10,000++ (the investment I made to get things going)!!

- Mike

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