Don't Step on Louboutin's Red-Soled Shoes, EU Court Says

The French shoemaker hailed the court's decision as 'victory for the Maison Christian Louboutin'

Christian Louboutin's battle to protect his trademark red soles was given a lift on Tuesday (Jun 12) when the European Union's top court said they did not consist exclusively of a shape, which are usually not protected under EU trademark law.

The French company said the shoes infringed the Louboutin trade mark and was granted a temporary injunction against the Dutch high street staple.

"This case will now be referred back to The Hague Court, which is expected to confirm the validity of the red sole trademark", it added.

A Dutch court had asked the ECJ if the prohibition on the registration of shapes as trademarks also applied to shapes combining three-dimensional properties of a product and other characteristics such as colours.

Louboutin started the legal action in 2012, when Van Haren brought out a range of shoes by actress Halle Berry which included high heeled shoes with red soles.

In December, Louboutin was awarded nearly 10 lakh rupees ($156,078) in damages and a permanent injunction against two shoe dealers - Kamal Family Footwear and Adra Steps - for infringing on his red-sole trademark in India.

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The arcane legal dispute centred on whether Louboutin's trademark involved a shape or a colour.

However, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said that shape trademarks do not apply to Louboutin's red sole.

The luxury brand said it "warmly welcomes" the judgement.

Under EU law it was argued companies can not trademark common shapes such as the soles of shoes.

Alexis Mourot, chief operating officer and general manager of the privately held firm, said the ruling meant the court effectively recognized that the red sole was a signature of the Louboutin brand.

"The ruling is very short, which is very rare, and it's very clear".

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