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Christian Louboutin Red Soles Trademark Invalid, Court Says

Image: Christian Louboutin Red Soles Trademark Invalid, Court Says
The trademark for Christian Louboutin's red soles may be invalid, a court says. (Denys Kovtun/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Feb 2018 02:41 PM

The European Union Court of Justice has ruled Christian Louboutin’s trademark for using red soles on the bottom of shoes from the designer may be invalid.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Louboutin in 2012 against Dutch company Van Haren after it began selling red-soled heels at much lower prices as part of its Fifth Avenue by Halle Berry line. Louboutin’s shoes cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 per pair and the red soles have been a signature feature since 1992 when Louboutin painted a pair of stilettos with an assistant’s red nail polish.

A judge issued an injunction against Van Haren and the company had to stop selling the shoes, but they fought back against Louboutin and the case was referred to the European Court of Justice in 2014.

On Tuesday, ECJ advocate general Maciej Szpunar stated the combination of a color and a shape can be denied trademark protection, which would invalidate Louboutin's trademark if the ECJ as a whole agrees, The Guardian reported.

Louboutin has long argued that the look is its signature and allowing others to produce their own red-soled shoes would reduce the brand's value, but Szpunar views the color as part of the shape and said he didn’t think it merited the trademark. 

National courts often follow the advice of the ECJ’s advocates general, but not always, The New York Times reported. A ruling consistent with Szpunar’s statement could lead to less of an ability to distinguish one brand from another and to an increase in counterfeiting and copying between brands, the newspaper noted.

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Christian Louboutin's trademark for using red soles on the bottom of shoes may be invalid, the European Union Court of Justice has ruled.
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Wednesday, 07 Feb 2018 02:41 PM
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