Three stripes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Three stripes
Adidas isologo.svg
One of the typical Adidas logo with the three stripes; this one is from its Performance brandline, introduced in 1991 and initially used for its Equipment brandline
Adidas black shoes.JPG
Three stripes design application
on shoes and packaging
Product typeCorporate identity
Introduced1949; 73 years ago (1949)[1]

Three stripes is a trademark of Adidas consisting of three parallel lines, which typically feature along the side of Adidas apparel. Adidas was known for this branding early in its history, with its owner, Adolf Dassler, describing it as "The three stripe company".[2]


Finnish Sport Museum has a pair of footwear from the 1940s with the three stripes by Finnish athletic footwear brand Karhu Sports.[3] According to another source, the three stripes mark was created by the Adidas company founder, Adolf Dassler, and first used on footwear in 1949, when Adidas was founded.[1] In 1952, following the 1952 Summer Olympics in Finland, Adidas acquired its signature three stripe branding from Karhu Sports, for two bottles of whiskey and the equivalent of 1,600.[4][5][6][7]

The Trefoil logo of Adidas, used as the main logo from 1972 through 1997; now used for the Adidas Originals brandline.

The Trefoil logo was designed in 1971 and launched in 1972,[1] just in time for the 1972 Summer Olympics held in Munich.[8] This logo lasted until 1997, when the company introduced the "three bars" logo (that had been designed by then Creative Director Peter Moore), initially used on the Equipment range of products.[1] Designs for shoes registered in 1949 incorporated the three stripes along the side.[9]

Branding in sports[edit]

Scotland national football team jersey made by Adidas, with the classic three stripes. The break on the sleeves is mandated by the sport's governing bodies.

In 1998, Adidas sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association over their rules limiting the size and number of commercial logos on team uniforms and apparel. Adidas withdrew the suit, and the two groups established guidelines as to what three-stripe designs would be considered uses of the Adidas trademark.[10]

In late 2004, rival sporting good manufacturers filed a complaint to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over Adidas being allowed to exceed the 20 cm2 limit permitted for branding with the three stripes. Adidas argued that the trademark device was a design element rather than a logo and despite being an IOC sponsor, which led to accusations of Adidas receiving preferential treatment, the three stripes were banned by the Olympic movement starting with the 2006 Winter Games.[11] However, Adidas circumvented the ban by using a modified three stripe design, combining them with the number 3, for the 2006 Games.[12]

In 2006 Adidas sued All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (Wimbledon), other Grand Slam tournaments and the International Tennis Federation over restrictions on manufacturer's identifications placed on player clothing.[13]

Prior to UEFA Euro 2008, the Union of European Football Associations updated its kit regulations to mandate a 'sleeve free zone' on shirts worn under their auspices, to make room for competition markings.[14]: 30  This affected Adidas by prohibiting the use of continual stripes down the sleeves. The world footballing governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), implemented similar legislation in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[15]: 28 

In popular culture[edit]

The musical artist Lady Sovereign references the Three Stripes trademark in her song "Hoodie" from the album Public Warning. The album was released in 2006 and had multiple remixes, again involving references to the Three Stripes trademark.

The music artist Davay (Estonia) made a short hardbass song named "TRI POLOSKI" (literally meaning "Three Stripes") in 2016.

Since the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Adidas or "the three-striped brand" has been the trademark of the Russian 'gopniks' (a stereotypical gang member of the low-class villages of Russia, addicted to vodka and hardbass songs) and therefore being a major subject for hardbass.

Trademark disputes[edit]

Adidas has sued or threatened to sue retailers to protect the brand,[16][17] including the following cases:

Adidas has also settled with Steven Madden Ltd., Target Corp. and Nordstrom Inc. before going to trial.[17]

Further reading[edit]

  • Conrad Brunner (2004). All day I dream about sport : the story of the Adidas brand. London: Cyan. ISBN 1-904879-12-8.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d Adidas logo and brand transformations story at Think Marketing, 22 Aug 2012
  2. ^ "The Adidas Logo". Logaster. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2013. The company simple placed three black stripes on everything that they manufactured. Even this early in their history, the company was known for this branding. The owner of the company at the time liked to call his business “The three stripe company”. Even as new logos took the place of the old ones, the company would remain loyal to the three stripes look.
  3. ^ Item description at Finna image archive accessed May 28th 2021
  4. ^ Simon Chadwick, Dave Arthur (2007). International cases in the business of sport. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 438. ISBN 978-0-7506-8543-6.
  5. ^ Weather, Sneaker. "Karhu: The Brand That Sold Adidas The Three Stripes". Sabotage Times. Sabotage Times. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  6. ^ Smit, Barbara (2007). Pitch Invasion, Adidas, Puma and the making of modern sport. Penguin. p. 44. ISBN 0-14-102368-6.
  7. ^ Simon Chadwick; Dave Arthur (2007). International cases in the business of sport. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 438. ISBN 0-7506-8543-3.
  8. ^ [ History] on
  9. ^ "Birthday of adidas". Adidas website. Retrieved 4 November 2013. On 31 March 1949, this shoe was registered, along with the following three shoes, as a registered design through the patent lawyer Dr Wetzel.
  10. ^ "Shoe Size Converter". PureCalculators. 9 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Adidas stripes face being banned from the Olympic arena".
  12. ^ "Adidas plans 3 solution to Olympic stripe ban".
  13. ^ "".
  14. ^ "Edition 2008 UEFA Kit Regulations" (PDF). Union of European Football Associations. 26 September 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Equipment Regulations" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 19 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d "Adidas could cash in on battle". China Daily. 18 June 2008.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Erik Larson (17 January 2009). "Adidas Sues Aldo Over Claim It Copied Three-Stripe Design". Bloomberg L.P.
  18. ^ a b Anne-Marie Mooney Cotter; Law Society of Ireland; Garrett Breen (2003). Intellectual property law. Routledge Cavendish. pp. 12, 23–4. ISBN 1-85941-805-8.
  19. ^ a b "Three stripes victorious – Adidas for the third time before the European Court of Justice".
  20. ^ Osborn, Andrew (11 July 2003). "Adidas told its three stripes don't constitute a trademark". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  21. ^ "Adidas- Salomon AG and Adidas Benelux BV v. Fitnessworld Trading Ltd". Lawdit Solicitors. 13 July 2003.
  22. ^ a b "Adidas sues Abercrombie over three-stripe logo". Portland Business Journal. 12 January 2005.
  23. ^ "European IP Bulletin, Issue 22, May - Trade Mark: Adidas v Marca at the Court of Appeal in the Netherlands".
  24. ^ Adidas’ three stripes trade mark: Should Freihaltebedürfnis (public interest) be considered in the infringement assessment?, 25.04.07 - Marc van Wijngaarden
  25. ^ David Lawsky; Darren Ennis & editing by Andrew Hurst (10 April 2008). "EU court backs Adidas over three stripes". Reuters.
  26. ^ "".
  27. ^ "Jury Awards Adidas a Record-Setting $305M in Damages, But Payless Fights for Reversal". 19 May 2008.
  28. ^ Greg Thompson. "Three Stripes, You're Out!".
  29. ^ a b c "Adidas loses EU bid to extend three-stripe trademark". Reuters. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  30. ^ John Simmons (16 January 2005). "Three stripes and you're in - how Adidas went for gold". The Observer. London.

External links[edit]