A European court has ruled that Adidas does not own trademark rights over its iconic three stripes.
The General Court of the EU found that the sports brand could not show that the stripes had a “distinctive character” throughout the EU.
Adidas was granted trademark rights over the stripes for clothing, footwear and headgear by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in 2014.
In its application the company described them as consisting of ‘three parallel equidistant stripes of identical width’ which can be displayed on the product in any direction.
The EUIPO reversed its decision in 2016 after Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe (SBS) challenged it and this morning, the EU court in Luxembourg found that it was right to do so.
In a statement Adidas said it was disappointed by the ruling - but said it does not affect the company's "ability to use the three-stripes mark or the ability to enforce other registrations."
It noted that the ruling is limited to the use of the stripes regardless of their direction and positioning on a product - adding that the stripes still enjoy a "broad scope of protection" in a range of different forms throughout the bloc.
The General court found that the stripes do not make up a pattern composed of a series of regularly repetitive elements, adding that they are simply an “ordinary figurative mark.”
It also found that they cannot be trademarked based on colour scheme because Adidas uses them in a range of different colours.
Finally it found that Adidas had failed to show that it has used the mark throughout the EU and that it has acquired “distinctive character” throughout the bloc.
The company can still appeal the decision.