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Adidas Sues Tennis Biggies Over Logo Restrictions

When German sporting goods marketer Adidas sponsors an athlete at a professional tennis event, the company wants to make sure everyone knows about its involvement. That's why the jocks wear clothes with the Adidas logo plastered all over it. As the camera follows the player around and across the court, that logo is seen by millions, and it's all free--at least in terms of airtime. But now the powers that be who govern Grand Slam tennis events say Adidas is abusing their rights and that their logo can be no bigger than four square inches. Not surprisingly, Adidas disagreed, and has filed suit against the International Tennis Federation and the four Grand Slam tournaments--the French, U.S., and Australian Opens and Wimbledon. Spokesman Ian Ritchie said Wimbledon would "vigorously defend" the case, which he described as "totally without foundation." "We do not want a situation where we see players covered in large numbers of manufacturers' identifications and have large crocodiles and large swooshes," Ritchie said. "If you accept the situation with the three stripes, then you open the floodgates to players being advertising billboards." Adidas said the rule "discriminates against Adidas and infringes elementary EU competition rights" and was issued "one-sidedly, without respecting the industry's needs and without considering concerns raised in advance." Adidas contended the three stripes running down shirt sleeves or shorts are not a standard logo. It said the official logo is the "performance logo" depicting three stripes arranged in a pyramid with Adidas written underneath




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