Trade mark infringement and the Louboutin case


By Rachel Pearse

The ruling provided by the CJEU has given Christian Louboutin's trade mark infringement claim against Van Haren a significant boost. The case will now return to the Hague Court where it is likely that the Court will rule that Louboutin's trade mark is valid and infringed. For some this may be a surprise decision, certainly in light of the CJEU's departure from Advocate General Szpunar's additional Opinion where the Advocate General maintained his view that the prohibition set out in the trade mark directive was capable of applying to a sign combining colour and shape.

Christian Louboutin designs and produces the famous luxurious red soled high heel shoes. It prides itself on its unique design and branding. Louboutin registered their red sole trade mark in 2010. The mark consists of a specific shade of red applied to the sole of a shoe. The trade mark was illustrated in a picture of the shoe, with the red sole, but it was stated in the description that the contour of the shoe (i.e. the shape) did not form part of the trade mark. Rachel Warren looks into the proceedings and ruling.
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