Commenting on today's ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), on the Louboutin trade mark case for its red coloured sole shoes, Sanjay Kapur, partner and trade mark attorney at intellectual Property firm, Potter Clarkson LLP, said: "Today's ruling is unusual in that it did not follow the earlier opinion by the Court's Advocate General but will undoubtedly be welcome news for Louboutin, who should be able to exert its EU trade mark rights against copy-cat products and maintain the cachet and appeal of its shoes.
Losing this case could have resulted in a multitude of similar red sole coloured products flooding the EU market, which could have caused irreparable damage to the prestige brand's goodwill and dilution of its trade mark rights.
EU trade mark law forbids the registration of shapes where they add substantial value to the goods. A claim had been brought by a Dutch company, who were being sued by Louboutin for producing look-a-like products, that the EU trade mark registration held by Louboutin was invalid as it fell within the shape exclusions.
The CJEU concluded that the red coloured sole trade mark registration does not consist exclusively of the shape of the goods and it can be considered distinctive of Louboutin footwear."