Adolf Dassler, founder of Adidas.
Adidas AG, the complete name which the Adolf Dassler's German Company has been registered on August 18th 1949, is a giant among multinational companies and deals. How we know it produces footwear, clothing and sporting goods. After a six years long dispute, Adidas became the winner of the trademark protection battle against Katsura Patent Management, a Japanese business entity that on June 20th 2012 obtained the registration by the trial board of JPO (Japan Patent Office) of his own trademark similar to the Adidas one in terms of design.
On the left the disputed trademark, on the right the iconic Adidas trademark.
Four years later Adidas took an invalidation action and the Board found that:
- Adidas' 3-stripe design has acquired a substantial degree of reputation well before the filing date of disputed mark as a result of continuous marketing activities in Japan since 1971;
- Occasionally, Adidas promotes shoes depicting various types of 3-stripe design with a slight modification to length, width, angle, outline or color of the stripe;
- Disputed mark gives rise to the same visual impression in the mind of consumers with 3-stripe design by taking account of similar graphical representation consisting of three lines in parallel leaning to the left.
Based on the above findings, the board concluded that relevant consumers and traders are likely to confuse shoes using disputed mark with Adidas' famous 3-stripe design, finally the Katsura Patent Management mark was invalidated.