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Thom Browne Wins Trademark Infringement Case Against Adidas

Adidas America Inc. v. Thom Browne Inc., No.  1:21-cv-05615-JSR-RWL, SD of New York 

Adidas sued New York designer Thom Browne in 2021, claiming Thom Browne's use of four-bar and "Grosgrain" stripe patterns on its shoes and high-end activewear violated its three-stripe trademark rights. Adidas claimed in a New York federal court that Thom Browne is selling athletic-style apparel and footwear featuring four parallel bars and a grosgrain stripe pattern in a manner that is confusingly similar to Adidas' three-stripe mark. Adidas also claimed that, as a result of the alleged infringement, Thom Browne is benefiting from the three stripes' "widespread fame and tremendous public recognition" and "extremely valuable goodwill" that Adidas garnered from "millions of dollars" of public promotion. Adidas claimed that the similarities between Browne’s parallel four-bar motif and Adidas’s three-stripe trademark may confuse or mislead customers. 

Applied Marketing Science, Inc. (AMS) Principal and Survey Expert Brian Sowers conducted several consumer surveys on behalf of Thom Browne to test these allegations. Additionally, Mr. Sowers provided rebuttal evidence in response to consumer surveys proffered by Adidas. 

After a one-week trial, a Manhattan jury found that Adidas failed to show that Thom Browne’s use of stripes on its clothing infringed their three-stripe trademark. The jury found that Thom Browne’s use of parallel stripe designs were not likely to cause consumer confusion with Adidas' products. Additionally, Thom Browne was found not liable for damages or profits made from the sale of products featuring the four-bar design, as well as the grosgrain stripe pattern. 

Thom Browne was represented by Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. 

AMS collaborates with a network of survey research experts who have expertise in areas such as consumer behavior, social psychology, advertising, branding, marketing strategy, economics, content analysis and other related areas. Experts design and conduct surveys to analyze consumer perceptions and behavior in litigation—including trademark and trade-dress infringement, deceptive advertising, class actions, patent infringement, and damage calculations—and testify in both deposition and at trial. 

To learn more about AMS Litigation Support services or Brian Sowers, please contact AMS Litigation Support. 

Contact AMS Litigation Support