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Sportswear identification, distinctive design and manufacturer logos – issues from the front line

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In 2006, Adidas issued a legal claim against tennis' Grand Slam Committee (GSC). The claim alleged infringements of European competition law resulting from the GSC's ruling that Adidas' three-stripe design was a manufacturer's identification and would therefore be subject to size restrictions. This case study paper sets out to examine issues pertaining to the legal case and traces its development from instigation to resolution. In particular, the case study examines the nature of the sports and tennis-wear markets, as well as the history and development of Adidas and the Adidas brand. In turn, it analyses three terms that were fundamental to the legal case ("manufacturer identification", "distinctive design" and "manufacturer logo"). The case study concludes by identifying some possible future issues for the parties involved.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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