Christian Louboutin’s struggle over the Red Sole Trademark

Since 2012, Christian Louboutin has been battling for protecting it’s trademark for the “Red Sole” (of course we all know red sole is equal to Louboutins but a knock off can create confusion). The red sole is an iconic identification of the Christian Louboutin Label which if confused with any other Designer Label, can cause hampering affects to the goodwill of the company itself.

In 2012, Christian Louboutin filed a case of Trademark Infringement lawsuit against Yves Saint Laurent, which was selling red soles too. Under the U.S. law, Louboutin holds a valid trademark registration that extends to its famed red sole.  However, after the Yves Saint Laurent case, its registration is not as broad as it wants to be.


                               Christian Louboutin with it’s iconic trademarked Red Sole

YSL red

                                            Yves Saint Laurent with red sole

 ‘Deceptive similarity’ is one of the vital tribulations.

Christian Louboutin is again in court, this time in Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (which is the highest court in European Union legal system).

Why? :

Christian Louboutin, owns trademark rights in the red sole but only when the color of the sole is in contrast with the color of the shoe’s upper. This was a result of the 2012 lawsuit in New York Federal court where it was forced to amend its trademark registration.

Also, even when Christian Louboutin, over past several years has sued brands like Yves Saint Laurent or mass-market label Charles Jourdan, the European market continues its art of infringement.

Although, Louboutin cannot successfully claim trademark infringement if another brand makes an all-over red shoe with a red sole. The Designer Label still has a it’s spirits high to protect what created a fashion revolution in the 90s.

The Latest action is about the Lawsuit Christian Louboutin filed in 2013 in Netherlands against Van Haren.

In April 2013, the District Court of The Hague awarded Louboutin a preliminary injunction against Van Haren, ordering the brand to cease its manufacturing and selling of black and blue shoes bearing red-soles which was it’s “5th Avenue by Halle Berry” collection.

The court’s order was alarming where the order said that Louboutin has not used the red sole purely for decoration, but has utilized the mark in a consistent and sustainable way on all its high heel shoes.

For Louboutin’s red sole mark is identified by the public as a designer’s Label and thus, Van Haren’s red soled shoes caused confusion amongst the relevant public.

An array of appeals heading to the court finally led the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Henceforth, the CJEU will be comparing the scope and applicability of certain sections of the European Trademark Directive with the Benelux trademark registration of Louboutin’s trademark.

In the mean while we observed that Christian Louboutin uses social media to keep the public aware of it’s Trademarked Red Sole.

louboutin insta 2

Captioned: New York, #LouboutinHomme style. Celebrating @DarrenCriss and his return to Broadway in Hedwig & The Angry Inch with @Goodmans, Courtesy: Instagram

Louboutin insta

Captioned: If cities have sexes, Paris is a woman. #LouboutinWorld, Courtesy: Instagram

All they have to do it wait for the decision of the Highest European Court.

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