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A German court has ordered sporting goods giant Nike Inc. to stop selling a pair of workout pants with two parallel stripes stitched along the seam after rival Adidas complained the design was too similar to its three-stripe logo. In Dusseldorf, the district court ruled that Nike, as well as German clothing manufacturer Tom Tailor, had infringed Adidas’ trademark by using the two parallel lines, which in Nike’s case appeared along the seam of a pair of trousers, while in Tom Tailor’s case were along the sleeve of a jacket. The ruling, issued Friday, ordered Nike to discontinue selling the offending pants and is expected to be fined up to euro 1 million in damages, roughly $1.3 million, Adidas officials said. In a statement, Nike spokeswoman Joani Komlos said the company was disappointed by the court’s ruling. Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike might appeal the decision. Founded 80 years ago in the small Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, Adidas Salomon AG registered the three stripes in 1949. The company argues that the design has become synonymous with the German sportswear manufacturer and has aggressively pursued litigation against companies ranging from Target to Ralph Lauren, for shoes and apparel that attempt to use more than one parallel stripe, or band. “Really for us, this is business as usual — it may be Nike one day and another company another day,” said Jan Runau, a spokesman for Adidas, whose American operations are headquartered in Portland, Ore. Last year, Adidas sued the U.S. Polo Association, when it produced a shoe with two stripes, as well as high fashion designer Ralph Lauren after the latter produced a Polo jacket with two stripes on its sleeves. This month, Adidas took Abercrombie & Fitch Co. to court, claiming the clothing retailer copied the three stripes design in its latest line of casual wear. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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