Futbol Club Barcelona, known to its fans as Barça, is a worldwide powerhouse of professional soccer. It holds the record for the most FIFA wins.
In May 2015 Barça filed an application to register a trademark made up of alternating blue and red vertical stripes. The application covered a bunch of stuff including shirts, jerseys, soccer shorts, footwear, and hats.
adidas, The Brand With Three Stripes®, was having none of that.
Do you think Barça’s red/blue striped logo is “confusingly similar” to the adidas logo? In other words, if you saw a running shoe with the blue/red stripe design would you think they were made by adidas?
Do any of these facts change your mind?
- adidas has more than two dozen U.S. trademark registrations for their three-stripe logo.
- adidas has been using its three-stripe logo on shoes since 1952 and on other athletic apparel since the 1960s.
- adidas “sponsors internationally famous soccer players, including David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Mesut Ozil and Gareth Bale.” *
- adidas uses the three-strip logo on soccer cleats, soccer balls, soccer jerseys, shin guards, and goalie gloves.
- The Trademark Office examiner didn’t find Barça’s trademark confusingly similar to the ones owned by adidas.
Q: What do you think happened after adidas opposed the application? Take some time to think about it. I’ll wait.
A: Several months after adidas filed the opposition, Barça voluntarily agreed to withdraw its application.
Was that what you thought would happen?
* Notice of Opposition, page 7.