Louboutin wins trademark case on red soled high-heels

Shoemaker Louboutin wins EU court battle over red soles

Louboutin started the legal action in 2012, when Van Haren brought out a range of shoes by actress Halle Berry which included high heeled shoes with red soles.

The case will go back to a Dutch court which had sought the European Union tribunal's advice in a dispute between the French fashion designer and a Dutch retail shoe shop that started selling red-soled women's shoes, arguing that Louboutin should never have gotten a trademark protection in the first place.

Initially played out in a court in the Netherlands, the French designer attempted to block Van Haran from selling its own versions of the red-soled shoes.

At the time, Szpunar said that a trademark combining color and shape - such as Louboutin's red-soled pumps - could be refused or declared invalid on the grounds of European Union trademark law and sent the case back to Dutch courts for consideration.

A Dutch court had asked the ECJ if the prohibition on the registration of shapes as trademarks also applied to shapes combining three-dimensional properties of a product and other characteristics such as colours.

In February, an opinion issued by of Maciej Szpunar, an advocate general for the European courts, seemed to side with Van Haren.

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"I can confirm that Louboutin won the case".

Louboutin said in a statement that it "warmly welcomes this judgment".

Under EU law companies can not trademark common shapes of products such as the soles of shoes.

The lawyer added: "It is significant that in the United States and some other counties in Europe, Louboutin has already successfully secured trade mark protection for its red sole shoe design".

"The ruling is very short, which is very rare, and it's very clear", he said. "This is a total victory for the brand ... This decision is beyond appeal".

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