Why Is Everyone Suing Forever 21 Over Stripes?

Yikes. Forever 21 is in hot water again. Though this time, it wasn’t because the fast-fashion retailer was accused of ripping of an indie clothing line or jewelry designer. Nope, instead, both Adidas and Gucci are suing Forever 21 over its use of stripes — yes, stripes.
According to Women’s Wear Daily, Adidas took Forever 21 to federal court for “using a three-stripe design on a range of apparel, athleticwear, and shoes that is ‘confusingly similar’ to [its] well-known and long-trademarked three-stripe design.” The complaint also alleges that Forever 21 is selling counterfeit merchandise on its website. “The infringing apparel and footwear and counterfeit apparel imitates Adidas’s three-stripe mark (and, in the case of the counterfeit apparel, the Adidas wordmark and the badge of sport mark) in a manner that is likely to cause consumer confusion and deceive the public regarding their source, sponsorship, or affiliation,” the complaint read.
This is especially messy because this isn’t the first time Adidas has accused Forever 21 of trying to steal their signature stripes. Back in March, Forever 21 called Adidas a “bully” and then countersued, saying that the athletic brand was getting out of hand with its trademark, taking it to mean that “no item of clothing can have any number of stripes in any location.” But Forever 21 backed down and dropped its complaint two weeks later.
Hold on, kids. That’s not where it ends. Gucci is getting in on the stripes action, too. The Italian fashion brand has fired warning shots in the air in the form of three separate letters (the most recent was sent in Mid-February) from their attorneys asking that the fast-fashion retailer “discontinue all sales of certain clothing and accessory items with blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripes.” Forever 21 did not take this lying down and took preventative measures in June by asking a California federal court to side with them: “Many clothing and accessory items adorned with decorative stripes colored blue-red-blue or green-red-green are sold by countless third parties,” Forever 21 said. “Gucci should not be allowed to claim that Gucci, alone, has a monopoly on all blue-red-blue and green-red-green striped clothing and accessory items.”
Clearly, this Real Housewives-esque fight for stripes isn't resolving itself anytime soon.
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