The sportswear company has regularly taken legal action since 2008 to defend the exclusive use of the three stripes logo.
Sportswear manufacturer Adidas reversed course 48 hours after asking the United States Trademark Office to reject a Black Lives Matter application that featured a three-parallel-stripe design.
“Adidas will withdraw its opposition to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s trademark application as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.
Adidas has unconditionally withdrawn the opposition, which would allow it to continue to challenge the trademark on the same grounds in the future.
A source close to the company said the quick turnaround was prompted by concerns that people might misinterpret Adidas’ objection to the trademark as a criticism of Black Lives Matter’s mission.
Adidas had told the trademark office in a filing filed Monday that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s yellow stripe design is so similar to its own famous three-stripe mark that it is “likely to cause confusion”.
It tried to block the group’s application to use the design on goods the German sportswear manufacturer also sells, such as shirts, hats and bags.
Adidas is struggling financially after ending the lucrative Yeezy shoe partnership with Kanye West over anti-Semitic comments he made on social media and in interviews.
The sportswear company has also ended the Ivy Park collaboration with Beyonce, according to media reports. Adidas’ contract with the pop star expires at the end of this year.
“Probably causes confusion”
Adidas said in the filing that it has been using its logo since 1952 and that the Black Lives Matter design could cause confusion, leading customers to believe their goods are linked or come from the same source.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is the most prominent entity in the decentralized Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged a decade ago to protest police brutality against black people.
The group filed for a federal trademark in November 2020 to use a yellow three-stripe design on a variety of products, including clothing, publications, bags, bracelets, and mugs.
Representatives from the Black Lives Matter group did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Since 2008, Adidas has filed more than 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements related to the three-stripe trademark, according to court documents from a lawsuit the company filed against designer Thom Browne’s fashion house.
A jury in that case ruled in January that Thom Browne’s stripe patterns did not infringe Adidas’ trademark rights.
The US Patent and Trademark Office declined to comment on how quickly the Black Lives Matter trademark can be registered.
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