Adidas  v H&M – three strips v two strip

Adidas v H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK B.V.

The Hague Court of Appeal

Case No: C/09/512/HA SAT 16-714 – 28 January 2020


The level of protection a logo can expect to receive can be limited if it’s made up from relatively indistinctive simple geometric shapes (stripes, dots, squares etc.). Disputes regarding the Adidas stripes isn’t as straightforward as that, as the design became somewhat distinctive through its continued use. This factor was at play in the dispute between Adidas and Hennes and Mauritz.

The dispute between Adidas and H&M is a long standing one – starting 23 years ago – with the proceedings being handled by the Netherland’s District Court of The Hague. This was over H&M’s use of a stripe-like design on their sportswear. The simplistic design of the Adidas stripes, alongside surveys used in the court which showed the overwhelming majority of the public to not confuse the designs, found the opposition’s mark to be insufficiently infringed. The Dutch court favoured Hennes and Mauritz. Adidas’ bed has not been made regarding this dispute, however, as Adidas has the option to proceed by filing an appeal in cassation.

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