Europe’s highest court has backed Christian Louboutin in its battle to protect its distinctive red soles. In 2012, Louboutin sued rival firm Van Haren for selling high heeled shoes with scarlet soles. Under EU law companies cannot trademark common shapes of products such as the soles of shoes. Van Hagen argued that applying red to a shoe sole came under that law and, as a result, Louboutin did not have trademark protection. However, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said that shape trademarks do not apply to Louboutin’s red sole.
Christian Louboutin first designed his trademark shoe in 1993, using an assistant’s red nail polish. The luxury brand said it “warmly welcomes” the judgement. “For 26 years, the red sole has enabled the public to attribute the origin of the shoe to its creator, Christian Louboutin,” the brand said in a statement. “This case will now be referred back to The Hague Court which is expected to confirm the validity of the red sole trademark.”