The General Court of the European Union has deemed that adidas' iconic Three Stripes cannot be trademarked in Europe, Deutsche Welle reports.

The verdict, a continuation of a decision made in 2016 by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), was reached today, with the court stating that the use of three stripes in parallel was not distinctive enough in the minds of European consumers, only acquiring "distinctive character" in five of the EU's 28 member states.

The three-striped branding was bought by adidas from Finnish sportswear brand Karhu in 1952, reportedly for two bottles of whisky and today's equivalent of approximately $2,000. Earlier, adidas had produced different athletic shoes with two, three, and four supporting strips of material.

adidas' original application for the EU trademark was approved in 2014 by the European intellectual property authorities, only for it to be appealed by Belgium's Shoe Branding Europe. After today's rejection, the brand can still take its appeal to the EU's highest court, the European Court of Justice.

Highsnobiety has reached out to adidas for comment.

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