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Three stripes

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Title: Three stripes  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Adidas, Design
Collection: 1967 Introductions, 1971 Introductions, 1997 Introductions, Adidas, Company Logos
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Three stripes

Adidas logo.
A pair of Adidas shoes featuring the three stripes.

Three stripes is a trademark of Adidas consisting of three parallel lines, which typically feature along the side of Adidas apparel. Adidas was known for this branding early in its history, with its owner, Adolf Dassler, describing it as "The three stripe company".[1]

Designs for shoes registered in 1949 incorporated the three stripes along the side.[2]

A Finnish sports brand Karhu Sports sold the three stripe trademark to Adidas for (the equivalent of) €1,600 euros and two bottles of Whiskey.[3][4]


  • Branding in sports 1
  • In popular culture 2
  • Trademark disputes 3
  • Further reading 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Branding in sports

In 1998, Adidas sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association over their rules limiting the size and number of commercial logos on team uniforms and apparel. Adidas withdrew the suit, and the two groups established guidelines as to what three-stripe designs would be considered uses of the Adidas trademark.

Pierre Lueders of Canada wearing an Adidas jacket with the modified stripe design at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

In late 2004, rival sporting good manufacturers filed a complaint to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over Adidas being allowed to exceed the 20cm2 limit permitted for branding with the three stripes. Adidas argued that the trademark device was a design element rather than a logo and despite being an IOC sponsor, which lead to accusations of Adidas receiving preferential treatment, the three stripes were banned by the Olympic movement starting with the 2006 Winter Games.[5] However, Adidas circumvented the ban by using a modified three stripe design, combining them with the number 3, for the 2006 games.[6]

In 2006 Adidas sued All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (Wimbledon), other Grand Slam tournaments and the International Tennis Federation over restrictions on manufacturer's identifications placed on player clothing. [7]

In popular culture

The musical artist Lady Sovereign references the Three Stripes trademark in her song "Hoodie" from the album Public Warning. The album was released in 2006 and had multiple remixes, again involving references to the Three Stripes trademark.

Trademark disputes

Adidas has sued or threatened to sue retailers to protect the brand,[8][9] including the following cases:

Adidas has also settled with Steven Madden Ltd., Target Corp. and Nordstrom Inc. before going to trial.[9]

Further reading

  • [21]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Marketing Magazine
  6. ^ Marketing Magazine
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d
  9. ^ a b c d e f
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ a b Three stripes victorious – Adidas for the third time before the European Court of Justice
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ European IP Bulletin, Issue 22, May - Trade Mark: Adidas v Marca at the Court of Appeal in the Netherlands
  16. ^ Adidas’ three stripes trade mark: Should Freihaltebedürfnis (public interest) be considered in the infringement assessment?, 25.04.07 - Marc van Wijngaarden
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links

  • A tale of three stripes and family strife
  • The Adidas Three-Stripes Saga Continues
  • Adidas under the microscope (Ip Conference London September 23, 2008)
  • Three stripes? Think twice, Newsletter - Spring 2009, TLT LLP
  • Bird & Bird Adidas’ three stripes trade mark: Should Freihaltebedürfnis (public interest) be considered in the infringement assessment?
  • Three Stripes and Your (Name is) Out , RGC Jenkins & Co.
  • Adidas defeated in ‘three-stripes’ trademark ruling
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