Louboutin wins European Union court battle over trademark red soles


But in the ruling on Tuesday, the court noted Louboutin was not seeking to protect the shape of a shoe, merely the application of a colour to a specific part of it.

'The red colour applied on the sole of a woman's high heel shoe is a position mark, as Maison Christian Louboutin has maintained for many years'.

In 2013, Van Haren was forced to cease production of the shoes in question when the Brussels Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Louboutin, finding that the red soles represented a distinctive marker for consumers.

Elaine O'Hare, an intellectual property specialist at the law firm Stevens & Bolton, said: "The ECJ has not followed the recent recommendation of the advocate general and has instead ruled that Louboutin's red soles can in fact be protected as a trademark".

Christian Louboutin first designed his trademark shoe in 1993, using an assistant's red nail polish.

The French designer, Christian Louboutin, went to court in Netherlands to fight against the Dutch chain Van Haren from selling its own versions of high-heeled shoes with red soles.

At issue was whether Louboutin's trademark should be considered a shape trademark or a position trademark - an important distinction as European trademark law does not protect signs consisting exclusively of the shape of a product.

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

Nevertheless, Van Haren had argued that the trademark in question was invalid - citing its connection to the shape of the shoe, an element that is not protected by European Union trademark law. "This is a total victory for the brand and we are very pleased that it confirms the registration of the brand for all of Europe", he told WWD.

The court in The Hague will deliver the final ruling on the matter based on the ECJ decision.