We’ve written on several occasions (for example, here, here, and here) about the aggressive policing by Adidas of its well-known “three-stripe” mark for shoes, including attempts to enforce its mark against other two-stripe or four-stripe designs (with some success).
Adidas is at it again, with a new lawsuit asserting trademark infringement based on Puma’s four-stripe design for a soccer cleat. The complaint was filed on Friday last week in the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon. Adidas also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on the same day.
Puma is a competitor and longtime rival of Adidas. The two companies are headquartered within walking distance of each other, in the German town of Herzogenaurach. Adidas and Puma were founded decades ago by brothers Adi Dassler and Rudolph Dassler, respectively, which has led to fierce and sometimes bitter competition between the two companies over the years. In 2013, Forbes ranked the Adidas v. Puma rivalry as one of the greatest business rivalries of all time.
Below is Puma’s soccer cleat that is the subject of the infringement lawsuit filed by Adidas:
And here is the three-stripe design on one of the Adidas soccer cleats:
What do you think? Would consumers be likely to confuse the Puma shoe for an Adidas shoe? This dispute is in its early stages, as Adidas just filed its complaint last week, so it remains to be seen how Puma will respond. Stay tuned for further updates.