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Louboutin puts it’s foot down on trade mark infringement

Back in June we reported on how Louboutin had successfully defended its red sole trade mark from Dutch fashion chain, Van Haren: the full article can be read here.

In summary, Louboutin sued Van Haren after it started selling its version of a red soled high heel shoe. For those who may not have heard of Louboutins, the name comes from the surname of the footwear designer Christian Louboutin who designs and creates footwear, most notably, stilettos with a red sole. Nowadays, the red sole has become synonymous with and symbolic of the Louboutin brand.

Van Haren counterclaimed challenging Louboutin’s trade mark for the colour red as applied to the sole of a shoe and it initially appeared as though it may have been successful as the Advocate General stated that Louboutin was trying to protect the red sole in relation to a specific shape (meaning the mark may have been invalid under Article 3(1)(e)(iii)).

The case was transferred to the EU’s top Court where the judges departed from the Advocate General’s prior decision in coming to their judgement that the shape of the Louboutin shoe does not form part of the mark, stating that it was merely intended to show the positioning of the red colour. The decision was a success for Louboutin.

The case has recently been transferred to the District Court of the Hague which has, as expected, upheld the European Court’s decision.  The judgment cements the validity of Louboutin’s trade mark and is a great success for the brand.

It is not yet known whether Van Haren will appeal the decision. Watch this space. If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.