Adidas made headlines last year for filing a number of lawsuits in connection with its famous three-stripe trademark. Defendants, including Skechers, Marc Jacobs, and Forever 21, amongst others, were accused by the German sportswear giant of using its three-striped mark on their garments and footwear. Well, it seems adidas quietly settled two of those suits.
According to the U.S. District Court of the District of Oregon‘s docket, roughly two months after adidas filed suit against Marc Jacobs, adidas filed to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit.
You may recall that adidas took issue with a "confusingly similar" four-stripe design that Marc by Marc Jacobs featured on a track jacket as part of its Fall/Winter 2014 collection. Particularly problematic, according to Adidas is its own frequent practice of collaborating with fashion designers, including Stella McCartney, Jeremy Scott, Raf Simons, Mary Katrantzou, and Yohji Yamamoto, the latter of which is responsible for Adidas's high end Y-3 collection and which stocks at similar retailer outlets as Marc by Marc Jacobs. In Adidas' words: the Marc by Marc Jacobs designs at issue are "similar to, and compete with, apparel sold by adidas, and the parties’ respective apparel is sold through overlapping channels of trade."
Well, it seems that the parties were able to settle the matter out of court, which is not terribly surprising given that the allegedly infringing garments came from New York based brand Marc Jacobs’ now-defuct little sister collection, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Considering that no new Marc by Marc garments and accessories have been made following the brand’s final collection (Resort 2016) and existing items are already being phased out of stores, the brand poses little threat to adidas.
While the settlement terms are confidential (as usual), Marc Jacobs likely agreed to pull from the market any existing garments that bore the adidas trademark and to refrain from manufacturing, marketing and selling any additional items that bear the adidas trademark. Much like the vast majority of settlements, there was probably a monetary component, which would serve to disgorge Marc Jacobs of any profits it made from the sale of the allegedly infringing garments.
And in a period of about 3 months, Forever 21 and adidas managed to settle the lawsuit the sportswear giant filed against the Los Angeles-based fast fashion retailer. You may recall that adidas filed suit in federal court in Portland, Oregon, the home of Adidas’ North American headquarters, claiming that Forever 21 "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 November 2015, adidas filed to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit, signifying that the parties settled the matter amongst themselves out of court, thereby saving themselves the time and financial resources associated with pursuing the matter to trial. This is hardly a surprise given Forever 21 practice of consistently settling matters outside of court in a quick and quiet manner.
As indicated in the matter above, chances are: Forever 21 likely agreed to pull from the market any existing garments that bore the adidas trademark and to refrain from manufacturing, marketing and selling any additional items that bear the adidas trademark. Moreover, the retailer probably agreed to forfeit a monetary sum in connection with the settlement.