Adidas 3 stripes according the Court of Justice

Posted on 19/04/2008 · Posted in EU Court of Justice, marketing, trademark

Is it necessary that stripes signs remain available to all? Can Adidas prohibit the use by third party of two stripes on sport products?

The questions above have been recently examined by the Court of Justice in Case C-102/07 of 10th of April 2008. The first chamber of the Court assessed that the requirement of the availability of certain signs is irrelevant with regard to the likelihood of confusion. The important factor for analyzing such criteria is the public perception of the goods identified by the TM of the owner compared to the third party’s goods. On the other hand – the Court of Justice observes – the “availability requirement” regards only descriptive indications, not decorative characteristic of the goods.

Therefore, on the basis of this ruling by the Court of Justice, we can imagine that strips or squares or circles may be “owned” by a single proprietor if the latter is so able to enforce these signs on its relevant market that public immediately associate them to the mark/source of the proprietor.

(IP Faber: 360° consultancy on TM. Contact us)

Photo by autumn bliss from Flickr. CC license.