Christian Louboutin wins European Union court battle over signature red soles

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Red soles are the trademark of Louboutin and is a hit amongst Hollywood.

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.

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.

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.

However, the court has gone against the recommendations of the advocate general and found in favour of the French brand.

The ECJ said: "A trademark combining colour and shape may be refused or declared invalid on the grounds set out under European Union trademark law".

"This case will now be referred back to The Hague Court, which is expected to confirm the validity of the red sole trademark", it added.

In a statement, Louboutin said: "For 26 years, the red sole has enabled the public to attribute the origin of the shoe to its creator, Christian Louboutin". "[The company] warmly welcomes this judgement".

In February 2017, Swiss courts turned down a final appeal by the luxury label to trademark its heels there, finding that they are merely an aesthetic element.

In December, Louboutin was awarded nearly 10 lakh rupees ($156,078) in damages and a permanent injunction against two shoe dealers - Kamal Family Footwear and Adra Steps - for infringing on his red-sole trademark in India.

"The ruling is very short, which is very rare, and it's very clear", he said.

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