Sportswear maker Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE) on Wednesday reversed course 48 hours after asking the U.S. Trademark Office to reject a Black Lives Matter application for a trademark featuring three parallel stripes.
“Adidas will withdraw its opposition to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s trademark application as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement.
A source close to the company said the rapid about-turn was triggered by concern that people could misinterpret Adidas’ trademark objection as criticism of Black Lives Matter’s mission.
Adidas had told the trademark office in a Monday filing that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s yellow-stripe design so closely resembles its own famous three-stripe mark that it is “likely to cause confusion”.
It sought to block the group’s application to use the design on goods that the German sportswear maker also sells, such as shirts, hats and bags.
Adidas is struggling financially after ending its lucrative Yeezy shoe partnership with Kanye West over antisemitic comments he made on social media and in interviews.