January 24, 2024
Adidas vs. Puma: the sibling rivalry and trade mark disputes
Adidas vs. Puma: the sibling rivalry and trade mark disputes

Adolf Dassler (the founder of Adidas) and Rudolf Dassler (the founder of Puma) are brothers from Herzogenaurach, Germany - brothers that once owned a company called Gebrüder Dassler. In 1919, the brothers worked on and produced a new variety of sports shoe, which was worn by athletes in the 1936 Olympics. The athletes wearing those shoes won bronze, silver and gold medals, propelling the brothers into the limelight. 

So, what went wrong?  In a nutshell, no one is 100% sure, although there are millions of theories, and even a film! What we do know is the brothers fell out, parted ways, and thus Puma and Adidas were born. Puma in 1948, originally under the name Ruda, and Adidas in 1949. However, the family feud didn’t end there. The factories of Puma and Adidas were set up either side of the Aurach River, opposite each other. The feud even split the whole town, with employees from one factory unable to marry, or even speak to, employees from the other.

Even though the family feud is no more (as Rudolf died in 1974 and Adolf in 1978), the competition between Adidas and Puma as brands is still very much alive – although employees are now able to drink in the same bars! It should come as no surprise therefore, that both companies are fiercely protective of their IP and frequently come up against each other in the Courts over various iconic brand assets.

Most notably, the stripes that Adidas features as a key branding element across its products. Emma Day walks us through a recent course case about Adidas' iconic stripes in an article for CITMA's new guide to understanding IP in the fashion industry. You can read the full article here.

Fashion /  Trademarks /  Disputes

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