Update 4/14/15: Today came news that the specific target of Adidas’ lawsuit is Marc by Marc Jacobs, not Marc Jacobs proper. Further, the four-striped items in question hail from the fall 2014 collection, designed by Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, though they were not shown on the runway. One wonders if the two parties attempted a collaboration and, if so, how and why it fell through. The legal action also raises questions about a possible connection with the recent announcement that the second line is to be disbanded and absorbed into the larger Marc Jacobs company.
Adidas has accused Marc Jacobs of intentionally using “confusingly similar imitations” of its Three-Stripe Mark, a registered trademark, on jackets with four thin stripes down each sleeve.
Adidas has filed a lawsuit against Marc Jacobs International, which recently announced the dissolution of its secondary Marc by Marc Jacobs line, in the state of Oregon, where it’s headquartered. The sportswear giant claims the luxury brand’s use of a similar four-stripe design will “deceive, confuse, and mislead purchasers and prospective purchasers into believing that the apparel sold by Marc Jacobs is manufactured by, authorized by, or in some manner associated with adidas, which it is not.”
The “deception engendered by Marc Jacobs’s infringement and dilution of Adidas’ mark,” the suit goes on to say, “is causing irreparable harm to the goodwill symbolized by the Three-Stripe Mark and the reputation for quality that it embodies.” The term ‘reputation for quality’ could be read as a gratuitous dig. It could be argued some of Adidas’ output — its line with Kanye West, for example — is influenced by other designers’ work.
Adidas further contends that it’s spent millions of dollars to turn the three-stripe emblem into an instantly recognizable symbol around the world. It’s thus seeking monetary damages and an injunction to halt the production and selling of the items in question.
Marc Jacobs has yet to issue a response.