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Court hands Dutch rival a win in legal battle for Christian Louboutin's sole

Court hands Dutch rival a win in legal battle for Christian Louboutin's sole
From CBC - February 7, 2018

Shoe designer Christian Louboutinmay be forced totake astep back in its attempt to stop other companies from selling shoes with red solesa design feature that the company claims it has exclusive rights to.

The French designer went to court in The Netherlands to prevent high-end Dutch chain VanHarenfrom shoes that look very similar to Louboutins, which are a mainstay in fashionable circles around the world. Known for their distinctive red colour on the underside of the soles, it is not uncommon for them to retail at more than $1,000 US a pair.

But an advocate for theEuropean Court of Justice said in an opinion Wednesday that the company'sattempts to trademark their iconic design in 2010 and again in 2013 do not hold up to scrutiny.

In 2012, Van Harenstarted selling a high-heeled shoe with red on the underside, a move which prompted the legal fight.

In a press release, the court's advocate generalMaciejSzpunar"expresses doubts as to whether the colour red can perform the essential function of a trade mark."

That's because the colour of the sole cannot be considered to be separate from the shape of the sole, Szpunar said, and shapes are usually not protected under EU trademark law.

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