Adidas to withdraw opposition to Black Lives Matter’s trademark application
The swift reversal was triggered by concern that people could misinterpret Adidas’ trademark objection as criticism of Black Lives Matter’s mission
The logo of the German sports equipment maker Adidas (Photo: Getty Images)
Sportswear manufacturer Adidas on Wednesday (29) reversed course 48 hours after asking the US Trademark Office to reject a Black Lives Matter application for a trademark that includes three parallel stripes.
Adidas stated that it would retract its opposition to the trademark application by the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation as soon as possible.
A source familiar with the matter claimed that the swift reversal was prompted by apprehension that Adidas’ challenge to the trademark application could misinterpret as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement’s objectives.
Adidas had told the trademark office in a Monday (27) filing that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s yellow-stripe design so closely resembles its own famous three-stripe mark that it is “likely to cause confusion”.
It sought to block the group’s application to use the design on goods that the German sportswear maker also sells, such as shirts, hats and bags.
Adidas is struggling financially after ending its lucrative Yeezy shoe partnership with Kanye West over antisemitic comments he made on social media and in interviews.
The sportswear firm has also ended its Ivy Park collaboration with Beyoncé according to media reports. Adidas’ contract with the pop star is set to expire at the end of this year.
Adidas said in the filing that it has been using its logo since 1952, and that the Black Lives Matter design could cause confusion, making shoppers think their goods were connected or came from the same source.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is the most prominent entity in the decentralised Black Lives Matter movement, which arose a decade ago in protest against police violence against Black people.
The group applied for a federal trademark in November 2020 covering a yellow three-stripe design to use on a variety of products including clothing, publications, bags, bracelets and mugs.
Representatives of the Black Lives Matter group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Adidas has filed over 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements related to the three-stripe trademark since 2008, according to court documents from a lawsuit the company brought against designer Thom Browne’s fashion house.
A jury in that case decided in January that Thom Browne’s stripe patterns did not violate Adidas’ trademark rights.