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Adidas Files Suit Against Abercrombie

LOS ANGELES — Adidas is suing Abercrombie & Fitch to protect its trademark three-stripe design, which has become synonymous with the sportswear brand.<BR><BR>Adidas America Inc., the Portland, Ore.-based subsidiary of Adidas Salomon AG,...

LOS ANGELES — Adidas is suing Abercrombie & Fitch to protect its trademark three-stripe design, which has become synonymous with the sportswear brand.

Adidas America Inc., the Portland, Ore.-based subsidiary of Adidas Salomon AG, argued in a lawsuit filed Dec. 23 in U.S. District Court in Portland that Abercrombie & Fitch used the stripe design for its latest line of casualwear apparel, featured in the online Christmas catalogue. The merchandise includes several pairs of pants as well as a zip-up sweatshirt.

Adidas asked that apparel from the New Albany, Ohio-based clothing retailer be impounded and destroyed, along with any boxes, bags, labels, tags or other promotional material that was connected to the merchandise.

“We vigorously protect our trademarks worldwide and take all steps necessary to do so,” said Adidas spokeswoman Nicole Vollebregt, who declined further comment.

Abercrombie & Fitch spokesman Thomas Lennox also declined comment.

The lawsuit is not the first time the companies have clashed over the trademark logo. According to letters included in court documents, Adidas wrote to Abercrombie in 1996 and 2002 to protest the use of apparel it said too closely resembled its own products. Abercrombie agreed to stop selling the items in both cases.

Adidas also has sued Target, Payless Shoes, Ralph Lauren and other companies over its parallel three-stripes logo, which company founder Adi Dassler registered in 1949.

This story first appeared in the January 13, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.