Christian Louboutin Claims Victory After EU Court Ruling on Red Soles

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PARIS — Shoe designer Christian Louboutin claimed an important victory in his ongoing battle to trademark red soles, after the European Court of Justice on Tuesday supported the company’s claim that the use of a specific shade of red on the underside of its shoes constitutes a recognizable characteristic of the brand. The ruling by the European Union’s highest court comes in the context of a dispute between Louboutin and Dutch high street shoe brand Van Haren dating back to 2012. A Dutch district court in The Hague asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the nature of Louboutin’s trademark before it settles the matter. 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. Louboutin’s lawyers argued, on the contrary, that the trademark consisted of “the color red [Pantone 18‑1663 TP] applied to the sole of a shoe,” regardless of the shape of the sole. “The European Court of Justice today confirmed that the legal regime governing shape trademarks does not apply to Christian Louboutin’s ‘red sole’ mark. The red color applied on the sole

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