Adidas Files Suit Against Forever 21 for Copying its Famous Trademark

After filing suit against Marc Jacobs this spring, Adidas has named fast fashion giant Forever 21 in a new lawsuit for allegedly infringing its three-stripe trademark. 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 Forever 21, as well as retailer Central Mills, "intentionally adopted and used counterfeit and/or confusingly similar imitations of the Three-Stripe Mark 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 Forever 21 garments with which Adidas is taking issue: sweatshirts bearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles imagery with three stripes extending from the collar down the sleeves; others feature Looney Tunes characters along with the three-stripe sleeve motif.

In its rather strongly-worded complaint, Adidas claims that Forever 21’s three-stripe designs are "in blatant disregard of adidas’s rights.” Adidas also alleges that Forever 21 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.”

In addition to a request for a jury trial, Adidas wants Forever 21 to immediately and permanently cease all sales, distribution and marketing of the allegedly infringing garments, deliver the garments to Adidas so they can be destroyed and pay up a wide array of damages, which may be in the millions.  As for whether that jury trial will ever happen, it seems unlikely. It is widely known that Forever 21 employs a team of lawyers to settle lawsuits in which it is named as a result of its widespread practice of copying. So, more to come, maybe …