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Nike scores victory in trade mark dispute against Adidas over three stripes!

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf partially overturned its earlier decision in a second appeal hearing resulting in Nike being able to use three stripes on some of their trousers.  

This case demonstrates the increasing difficulty of protecting stripes for sportswear. Stripes on clothing are often seen as mere decorative elements rather than distinctive elements capable of identifying source.  

Consequently, sportswear companies are being urged to invest in more distinctive, recognisable branding strategies that go beyond simple stripes.  

In three cases, the signature Nike "Swoosh," combined with only two side stripes, ensures that no trademark infringement is seen. The fourth pair of trousers, despite a three-stripe pattern, escapes the suspicion of brand confusion due to the English arrangement of the stripes and the design in the club colors of a football team. According to the court, these design subtleties dispel any potential risk of confusion.