Adidas Loses Protection of its “3 Stripes” Brand in Europe

On June 19, 2019, the European Union General Court ruled that Adidas AG’s “3 Lines” mark was canceled for registration in the European Union. The reason for canceling the mark is that the Court considers that Adidas’s mark does not have sufficient distinguishing power to be protected as a trademark so that the decision of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to cancel Adidas’s “3 Lines” trademark is appropriate.

This case originated from a competitor company Adidas namely Shoe Marking Europe, which submitted the cancellation of the “3 Lines” mark to EUIPO. The request for revocation of the mark was granted by EUIPO which stated that the Adidas “3 Lines” mark did not qualify as a mark because it did not have sufficient distinguishing power. However, Adidas objected to the decision made by EUIPO and finally submitted an objection to the EUIPO’s decision to the European Union General Court. However, Adidas’s attempt to save its trademark registration failed because the European Union General Court finally decided that the “3 Lines” mark proved to have no differentiating power so that the registration of the mark was canceled by the Court.

Furthermore, another reason that resulted in the trademark “3 Lines” being canceled by the Court was that Adidas was unable to prove that the “3 Lines” trademark had distinguished power due to its use in all regions of the European Union, so that the Adidas claim stating that their trademarks have the differentiating power through the use of can’t be proven. However, Adidas still has the opportunity to try to protect its “3 Lines” mark in the European Union again by submitting an appeal to the European High Court on the decision of the European Union General Court.

In connection with the foregoing, to be known that one of the most important elements in trademark registration is that a trademark has distinguishing features. If a trademark does not have distinguishing features, then a mark cannot be registered. In Indonesia, the regulation regarding mark distinction is in Article 20 Letter (e) which reads as follows:

“A mark cannot be registered if does not have distinguishing power”

The purpose of the “distinguishing power” in the article is explained in the explanation of Article 20 Letter (e), which is “a sign that is considered to have no distinguishing power if a sign is too simple as a line or a dot, or too complex so it is not clear”. So, if someone wants to register a mark as a trademark, it must be noted that the mark has a distinctive power so that the mark can be given protection by the Trademark Office.


Judgement of The General Court (Ninth Chamber, Extended Composition) accessed on June 24, 2019

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