A Berlin court ruled yesterday that sportswear giant Nike can now use Adidas’ signature stripes on some of its trouser designs in Germany.

The Dusseldorf regional court had previously banned the larger US sportswear brand from using two or three stripes on five of its trouser designs after Adidas filed a trademark violation lawsuit in 2022.

However, the court partially overturned its earlier decision, meaning that Nike, known for its own Swoosh logo, can now use the stripes on four of the disputed designs, with the ban on one design remaining in place.

The German sportswear giant is no stranger to lawsuits. In March 2023, Adidas revoked its original lawsuit against a Black Lives Matter campaign T-shirt featuring three parallel yellow stripes, anxious that its dispute of the design could be conflated with criticism of the anti-racist message.

It has also launched legal proceedings against the likes of Forever 21, Skechers and New York designer Thom Browne over similar concerns pertaining to infringement of its three-stripe design.

The three stripes that are so synonymous with the sportswear brand were first used on its footwear in 1952, later being applied to garments in 1967. In 1994, Adidas was granted a federal trademark for the use of stripes on its footwear.

Nike maintains that the scope of protection is too restrictive, claiming that stripes don’t always relate to Adidas.

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