European Fashion Trademarks
In a landmark European trademark case, adjudicated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) this week, the ECJ found that renowned fashion house, Christian Louboutin, was able to protect its trademarked heel. Louboutin creates luxury wear ranging from couture and designer heels to luxury handbags and perfumes. The most recognizable characteristic is Louboutin’s red soled heel. In an ongoing legal battle for the better part of 10 years, Louboutin has asserted that its iconic heel with the red sole is capable of trademark protection. A competitor firm, vanHaren, has argued that the red soles are not capable of trademark protection laws based on the fact that European Directives on trademark indicate that the combination of colours and shapes could not be afforded trademark protections. The ECJ ruling on June 12th 2018 ruled in favour of Christian Louboutin, noting that the competitor firm had infringed Christian Louboutin’s design.
The ECJ noted that a trademark can be ascribed on the basis of a colour’s presence on a certain part of a product.
While the case will be referred back to the Hague Court,no doubt having an impact on European trademarks, time will indicate whether such judgments will hold persuasive weight in Canadian and American trademark courts.