Trademark News & Screw-ups Art Basel Is Reportedly Suing adidas for Trademark Infringement

Instant karma? The world is now used to law suits that Adidas brings against anyone who so much as thinks as using a straight line—especially when there are three of them—in anything that a person can wear. This time around, Adidas gets caught using a trademark of someone else. Art Basel's lawyers didn't miss an opportunity to remind the world about Adidas's litigiousness over trademarks. And just because Adidas was giving the sneakers away rather than selling them doesn't make a difference. The defendant does not necessarily have to make money to be found to have been infringing the plaintiff's trademark. Using someone else's trademark does not necessarily mean it has to be sold. It's enough for the infringing products to be distributed to the public. The weakness of Art Basel's lawsuit, of course, is that it was a one-off. In other words, Adidas is no longer making sneakers that bear Art Basel mark. So Art Basel's leverage over Adidas is minimal. They can't get a huge settlement out of Adidas threatening to get the court to order Adidas to stop making sneakers with Art Basel mark on them, because Adidas is not doing it anyway. So Art Basel's remedies are basically limited to a compensation for unauthorized use of the brand in the past. How much can Art Basel really make in these circumstances? Probably not much. But, as it often is in stories like this, the PR value of the lawsuit is probably greater than the court reward or settlement.

The video below features Andrei Mincov's commentary of this article.

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