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In 3 Stripes Trial Thom Browne Beats adidas After Saying No One Confused by $1000 Pants

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 12 - In mid 2021 adidas sued Thom Browne for infringing on its "three stripe" mark with a four stripe design.

      In January 2023 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York  Judge Jed S. Rakoff held a jury trial.  Inner City Press covered it, until the January 12 verdict that Thom Browne is NOT liable, photo here.

   During the trial the benches in the back of the courtroom are covered with boxes of "physical exhibits," including shoes. In the front, Thom Browne is wearing a suit jacket -- with shorts.

On the witness stand on January 4, an adidas executive testifying about the company's running business, and clothing lines. He described sales over Instgram. He insisted that adidas is selling products for up to $3000. 

                        Browne at SDNY by Elizabeth Williams, on Inner
                        City Press
Thom Browne in SDNY, courtesy to Inner City Press by Elizabeth Williams

 On January 5, an expert who conducted polls, though not of fame. Meanwhile the SDNY courthouse marvels at the disproportionate interest in this case, while defendants are being sentenced to twenty or thirty years in other, more empty courtroom. Judge Rakoff does his criminal cases at 4:30. And Inner City Press covers both.

On January 9, a Thom Browne witness with a heavy Italian accent was on the stand, calling Thom Browne's design "timeless" and describing the company's contract with FC Barcelona for formal wear for the team, and Leonel Messi's contract with adidas.

 Judge Rakoff asked someone to hold up two items from the rack on the side of the courtroom. A woman in the front row of the gallery did. Judge Rakoff joked about a third item, need a third hand. The witness' distinction between vertical and horizontal stripes or bar was undermined.

On January 12, in closing argument, Thom Browne's lawyer said that there was no evidence that anyone ever bought a thousand dollar pair of sweat pants because they thought they were adidas. He contested the survey that had been presented as "post-sale," and incomplete.

In the afternoon of January 12, Inner City Press went to the courtroom; out in the hall stood the man in the shorts and suit jacket.

After less than two hours of deliberation, the jury found Thom Browne NOT LIABLE.

This case is or was  adidas America, Inc. et al v. Thom Browne, Inc., 21-cv-5615 (Rakoff)



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