Seemingly undeterred by legal pushback from Forever 21 in connection with its aggressive litigation strategy, adidas has filed yet another trademark infringement suit, this time targeting Juicy Couture. According to the German sportswear giant's lawsuit, which was filed last week in federal court in Portland, Oregon, the home of Adidas’ North American headquarters, Adidas claims that Los Angeles-based Juicy "intentionally adopted and used counterfeit and/or confusingly similar imitations of the Three-Stripe Mark."
The sports giant goes on to note that Juicy did so, "knowing that they would mislead and deceive consumers into believing that the apparel was produced, authorized, or licensed by adidas, or that the apparel originated from adidas.” The Juicy garments with which adidas is taking issue: its Tricot collection pants and jackets, which bear stripes down the sleeves and pant legs.
In adidas’ latest strongly-worded complaint, the company claims that Juicy’s three-stripe designs are "in blatant disregard of adidas’s rights.” Adidas also alleges that the brand – which has made a recent resurgence thanks to a collaboration with Vetements – knew exactly what it was doing, as the brand’s actions demonstrate an intentional, willful, and malicious intent to trade on the goodwill associated with adidas's federally registered Three-Stripe Mark to adidas's great and irreparable injury.”
Adidas’ complaint was filed just weeks after Forever 21 filed a suit against the company, detailing adidas’ pattern of “aggressively enforcing its perceived trademark rights against others, suing and threatening suit against retailers and manufacturers of footwear and clothing who use three stripes in a manner that Adidas believes is likely to cause confusion.”
Forever 21 went on to note in is suit: “Adidas has taken its claims even further—too far—essentially asserting that no item of clothing can have any number of stripes in any location without infringing Adidas’s trademarks. To this end, Adidas has sued clothing and footwear manufacturers who have used two stripes. It has sued those who use four. It has sued over stripe patterns involving multiple widths and colors, and it has sued over garments Adidas is not known for making. It has also threatened to sue many others on similar claims.”
Forever 21's suit came on the heels of an array of recent trademark infringement-related lawsuits (and opposition proceedings) initiated by adidas, including matters against Shoe Branding Europe, football club FC Barcelona, Italian fashion brand Bally, fellow footwear brand ECCO, Skechers, Marc Jacobs, and Elon Musk's Tesla, among others.
UPDATED (October 10, 2017): With all eyes on Harvey Weinstein and the growing list of women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and even rape, Juicy Couture and adidas have been able to quietly settle their until recently pending legal battle over adidas' 3-stripe trademark.
The parties' settlement agreement, while confidential, very well may include a monetary component paid by Juicy to adidas, in connection with its use of stripes on its garments, which adidas alleged infringes its various 3-stripe marks. As noted in adidas' complaint, this is not the first time the parties have gone head-to-head in court. Adidas filed and settled a trademark infringement suit involving Juicy in 2009.
With this suit out of the way, adidas' legal team has more time to focus on the much bigger battle underway between the sportswear giant and Forever 21, in which the fast fashion brand is challenging the validity of adidas' trademarks.
* The case is Adidas America, Inc et al v. Juicy Couture, Inc., 3:17-CV-00437.