Court Rules in Favor of Christian Louboutin in Red Sole Trademark Case

It’s another score for Christian Louboutin and the shoe designer’s closely guarded red sole trademark following a ruling in its favor from The Hague’s district court as a long-running dispute with high street shoe brand Van Haren winds its way through the judicial system.

In a statement Friday, the high-end footwear brand said it welcomed a Feb. 6 judgment from the district court that ordered Van Haren, a shoe retailer in the Netherlands, to stop selling high-heeled shoes with red soles. A judgement on compensation will be assessed at a later stage, according to Louboutin.

The court ruling follows a decision last year from the European Court of Justice supporting the company’s claim that the use of a specific shade of red on the underside of its shoes constitutes a recognizable characteristic of the brand.

The case dates back to 2012.

The house’s fortunes have been mixed in a series of legal battles for a monopoly on red-soled shoes, prevailing over Yves Saint Laurent in New York in 2012 but losing a similar case in Switzerland in 2017.

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland in Lausanne found that the red soles are merely an aesthetic element and said that while the brand has won the battle for trademark status in other markets including China, Australia and Russia, it does not mean the shoes should enjoy the same status in Switzerland.

By Louboutin’s account, he came upon his signature color when, unhappy with the look of a shoe, he took a co-worker’s red nail polish and painted the sole red.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.

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