Adidas sues Puma for trademark infringement
Adidas' complaint alleges Puma's newest soccer cleat that has four stripes is a trademark violation of the three stripe logo Adidas is known for using over the past 60 years. Specifically, Adidas is bringing claims for unfair competition, trademark dilution,and deceptive trade practices in addition to trademark infringement.
Both Adidas and Puma are huge players in the soccer market and head-to-head competitors for consumer market share. Adidas claims Puma has made a “soccer cleat bearing a confusingly similar imitation of Adidas’s three-stripe mark.”
Adidas alleges Puma is intentionally trading on the goodwill and commercial value of the three stripes. Specifically, the complaint alleges, "Puma’s use of four diagonal stripes on the side of the [i]nfringing [c]leat is a blatant attempt by Puma to trade on the goodwill and commercial magnetism Adidas has built up in the Three-Stripe Mark and to free-ride on [A]didas’s fame as a preeminent soccer brand."
Adidas' lawsuit is claiming damage by alleging the four stripe Puma design is "likely to cause consumer confusion and deceive the public regarding of the source, sponsorship, and/or affiliation of that footwear.”
Adidas sets the stage pointing out that there is an inherent familiarity between the designs stemming from their heritage as the brainchildren of two dueling brothers in Germany decades ago.
Adidas has recently been active in trademark court in and outside the footwear arena. Two years ago it sued Sketchers for a trademark infringement on its classic Sam Smith model. Most recently, it sent Tesla a cease and desist letter to change the car company's logo for its Model 3, claiming it was too similar to the Adidas 3 stripe logo.
As Adidas continues to defend its foothold in global soccer, it may be a wise decision for it to actively protect and litigate its intellectual property.
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