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Louboutin red sole success after long-awaited CJEU decision

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 12 June 2018

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The Court of Justice for the European Union has today released its decision in the long battle over the protection of Louboutin’s red sole.

This matter began with a claim of trade mark infringement filed by Christian Louboutin against Van Haren in 2012 over the use of red soles on their shoes.

The main issue in this case which has gone back and forth is whether the red sole trade mark registered by Louboutin is valid and whether the red sole fall under the definition of a shape, which would render it invalid.

After much discussion in the legal world, after the question as to whether the sole was a shape was put to the CJEU, a decision has been reached.

The CJEU has decided as follows.

As there is no definition of shape established, the Court decided to apply the meaning in everyday language.

The Court decided that the mark in question does not relate to a specific shape for the sole of a high heeled shoe as the description for the mark specifies that the contour of the shoe does not form part of the mark but only is there to demonstrate the positioning of the red colour.

In addition, the Court held that in any event a mark cannot be regarded as exclusively consisting of a shape where the main element of the mark is a colour designated by the recognised ID code.

This judgment was obviously greatly received by Christian Louboutin, who released a statement to that effect.

The matter will now be passed back to the Hague Court to confirm validity and proceed with the infringement claim.

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