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News blog19 April 2023European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency1 min read

Adidas backtracks on opposition to BLM – Google wins $20 million patent appeal.




Adidas v. Black Lives Matter

Adidas has withdrawn an opposition to prevent the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement from registering as a trade mark the design of three parallel stripes very similar to the Adidas three stripes.

In November 2020, Black Lives Matter filed an application for a US trade mark for a yellow three-stripe design. The trade mark could be used on branded goods such as clothing, bags…

In its opposition brief, Adidas claimed that the BLM design "incorporates three stripes in a manner that is confusingly similar to the three-stripe mark in appearance and overall commercial impression", adding that it has used the three-stripe logo since 1952 and that it has achieved "international fame and enormous public recognition".

According to the company, the average consumer familiar with its products and services could be led to believe that this is a collaboration between the BLM movement and Adidas, as the three stripes are very similar.

But on Wednesday 29 March, Adidas made an abrupt turnaround and dropped its opposition to the BLM trademark application. It is assumed that the turnaround was prompted by fears that the objection could be misinterpreted as a criticism of the BLM’s mission.


Google wins $20 million appeal over Chrome technology

On Tuesday, Google secured a major win in a US appeals court, overturning a 2017 verdict according to which it had to pay $20 million for patent infringement.

Indeed a jury ruled in 2017 that Google Chrome’s anti-malware functionalities were infringing the patents of two inventors, Alfonso Cioffi and Allen Rozman - and gave the claimants $20 million and royalty payments. Their attorney said at the time that these would be around $7 million a year for the next nine years.

But the Federal Circuit ruled on Tuesday that all the patents basing the infringement lawsuit were invalid. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Cioffi and Rozman’s patents were invalid because they were re-issued from earlier patents, and yet included inventions that were not in these earlier versions. In particular, technology specific to web browsers (which was at the core of the infringement claims against Chrome) was not mentioned in the earlier patent.


Publication date
19 April 2023
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency