Christian Louboutin’s has been in the news for bidding to gain the exclusive rights of the red sole shoes. The famous French designer has been found in trouble when the advisor to the court suggested that he may not be able to have the exclusive rights of the red soles high heels and also cannot prevent the competitors from selling the similar soles.
The French designer is renowned for his beautiful designs and specific red soles. Over the years, the designer has established a monopoly over the red sole high heels. The famous brand introduced the shoes with the red soles as the exclusive identity of the brand.
The whole issue raise when the designer seeks the assistance of the court to stop the Van Haren a Dutch high street fashion chain from the sale of red sole shoes. The Dutch fashion icon Van Haren started its own version of the idiosyncratic and distinctive footwear. The Louboutin went to the court in the Netherlands to seek justice and to gain the rights to the trademark with specific shape and color.
However, the whole issue went into the grave discussion when the advocate general of the European court of justice gave the court advice regarding the issue. According to the Maciej Szpunar, the protection on the trademark obtain by the Louboutin for the shoe and the shade of the red shoes from the year 2010 to 2013 might not be right.
In the recent statement of the ECJ, the court took the stance that an under the EU trademark law, none can get the protection on the color and the shape of the trademark and thus turn out to be invalid.
Moreover, as far as the Maciej Szpunar's advice is concerned he was of the view that shapes of the trademark do not fall under the EU trademark protection law, while the red color cannot be considered apart or separate from the overall shape of the shoes. So overall the whole red color with specific shape trademark protection asked by the French designer is invalid.
According to ECJ, the sole purpose of a trademark is to identify the proprietor or the brand while the red color does not add to this property of the trademark apart from the shape. This very statement clearly supported the doubts expressed by Maciej Szpunar.
The advocate general also added to his statement that his analysis is solely based on the shape of the shoes and he not at all consider the value of the brand due to the fame of designer and his mark.
Amid of all this discussion and litigation the customers who find it really convenient to associate the red sole with the Louboutin, are trying their level best to convince the court to give the exclusive rights of the color to the brand.
Another legal expert at the Potter Clarkson LLP, an intellectual property firm, Sanjay Kapur is of the view that if the ECJ is going to follow the Szpunar's opinion then this could result into more brands imitating the mark and Louboutin would not be able to stop the competitors from selling shoes with red soles.
Once the ECJ come to a decision on the above-mentioned issue then it is up to the Dutch court who has referred the case to the ECJ at the first spot to allow the Louboutin to have red sole as a trademark or not.