Adidas bends the knee: Sports giant drops copyright lawsuit against Black Lives Matter logo
Adidas bends the knee: Sports giant drops copyright lawsuit against Black Lives Matter for using three stripes logo over fears legal action could be seen as racist
- Adidas drops copyright challenge against BLM logo less than 48 hours after filing it
- Sources said Adidas was concerned the legal action would be misinterpreted as the brand opposing BLM’s mission
- Adidas has filed more than 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements related to the trademark since 2008
Adidas has dropped a copyright challenge against Black Lives Matter less than 48 hours after filing it amid concerns it could make the firm appear racist.
On Monday Adidas said the BLM logo was ‘confusingly similar’ to its own as both featured three stripes in a filing submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office.
But by Wednesday the German company – which is fiercely protective of its branding – had dropped the suit as sources told the Reuters it was worried the legal action would look as though Adidas opposed the values of BLM.
In 2020 the sportswear giant donated $20 million to black communities following widespread support for BLM.
‘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.
Adidas dropped a copyright suit against Black Lives Matter less than 48 hours after filing it. The sportswear brand previously said the two logos were ‘confusingly’ similar’
Black Lives Matter was founded by Patrisse Cullors (pictured), Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in 2013 but it gained prominence in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in custody
Adidas has featured three stripes in its logo since 1952.
Since 2008 it has filed more than 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements related to the trademark.
Meanwhile BLM was founded in 2013 by Patrisse Cullors Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi but it gained prominence following the death of George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of police officers in 2020.
Its yellow three-stripe design appears on its merchandise including bags, clothing, mugs and other products.
In November 2020 the movement applied for a federal trademark on the design.
Adidas urged the Trademark Office to reject the application, claiming that any ‘defect, objection or fault’ found on a BLM product could ‘seriously injure Adidas’s reputation.’
It comes after a bruising year for Adidas which in January lost a copyright case against fashion designer Thomas Browne over his use of a four-bar stripe pattern.
Browne had previously used a three-bar design but altered it after Adidas first objected in 2007.
It comes after a bruising year for Adidas which axed its lucrative partnership with Kanye West in October. He is pictured at the adidas show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Fall 2015
The rapper had a $220million annual deal with the German sports brand but was axed over antisemitic comments he made
A Manhattan jury ruled that Browne’s use of stripes did not infringe the sportswear brand’s striped trademark.
And in October 2022 Adidas was forced to drop its lucrative partnership with Kanye West after he made a series of antisemitic remarks.
At the time the company acknowledged that cutting ties with the rapper was likely to have a ‘negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022’.
The company also cut ties with Beyonce who teamed up with the firm to market her Ivy Park clothing brand in 2019.
It also unexpectedly dropped its CEO Kaspar Rorsted in November.