After a long running battle between Belgian footwear company, Shoe Branding, and Adidas, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) finally sided with Adidas on 24 February 2016.
Shoe Branding filed a Community trade mark application in 2009 in connection with footwear which featured similar stripes to that of Adidas’ famous two stripe branding.
Adidas opposed the application and was successful following a judgment from the EU General Court.
Shoe Branding then appealed against the EU General Court’s judgment that the mark would cause confusion between the two brands, claiming that the different length of the stripes on each brand of shoe was sufficient to distinguish the brands.
CJEU ruled that the General Court “took account of the difference in the length of stripes resulting from their angle and found that the difference did not influence the overall impression produced”.
Shoe Branding further argued in its appeal that it had co-existed with Adidas’s mark for decades with no evidence of confusion. However the CJEU held that this factor was not acknowledged in its ruling as Shoe Branding failed to raise this argument with the General Court.