After winning his battle with brand Yves Saint Laurent and getting a US trademark for his famous red soles, Christian Louboutin is once again taking the brand to court. The US trademark that Christian Louboutin got for the famous red soles of his self-named branded shoes did not go far enough, as it does not protect his characteristic design in Europe. Louboutin is reaching out to the Court of Justice of the European Union to protect his precious sole. The law suit between Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent surfaced in 2012 after the latter was selling shoes which had the same coloured sole as the upper, which therefore meant that red shoes produced by the brand had red soles. This very much angered Louboutin who claimed that red soles on non-Louboutin shoes may cause confusion for customers. The law suit came to an end after Louboutin was able to settle with a trademark for his feature red sole. However, even this was limited, as the court held that Louboutin can only claim for a breach if this trademark of the colour of the shoe is not the same colour as the sole. This meant that if the other party had made a red shoe with a red sole, Louboutin could not sue.
In 2013, Louboutin was in court against Van Haren in Netherlands. Shoes and accessories company Van Haren had been producing and selling black and blue shoes with red soles, namely their “5th Avenue by Halle Berry” style. In this instance, Louboutin’s claim was successful, and Van Haren was told to pay damages and stop the production of these shoes. The court was in favour of Louboutin’s claim as they held that his signature red sole was not only for the purposes of decoration, but was also used on all of Louboutin branded shoes consistently and in a way that was sustainable. Van Haren appealed against this decision, which has now led Louboutin to want to protect the red sole in Europe as it was protected against Yves Saint Laurent in the US.
Images source: christianlouboutin.com and Harper’s Bazaar.