June 13, 2018:
On Tuesday, French Designer Christian Louboutin won the battle to protect his trademark Red soles when European Union’s Top Court stated that they did not consist exclusively of a shape, which are usually not protected under EU trade mark law.
Judges at Court of Justice of European Union (ECJ) refused to accept the advice of Advocate General who said in February that red colour could not be considered apart from shape of sole.
ECJ stated that,“The mark does not relate to a specific shape of the sole for high-heeled shoes since description of that mark explicitly states that contour of shoe does not form part of mark and is intended purely to show the positioning of the red colour covered by the registration”.
French Designer went to court in Netherlands to prevent Dutch High Street Chain Van Haren from selling its own versions of the high-heeled shoes with red soles, a favourite for the Celebrity on Red Carpets.
Dutch Court had asked ECJ if the prohibition on registration of shapes as trademarks also applied to the shapes combining three-dimensional properties of a product and other characteristics such as colours.
Court in Hague will deliver the final ruling on the matter based on the ECJ decision.
Louboutin, founded in 1991, claimed victory and “warmly”welcomed the ruling.
ECJ stated that a trademark, such as Louboutin’s, could not be regarded as consisting “exclusively” of a shape, where the main element is a specific colour designated by an internationally recognised identification code.