On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, the European Union’s (EU) highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) (La Cour de justice de l’Union européenne), held that French designer Christian Louboutin’s mark consisting of a color applied to the sole of a shoe is not subject to the EU’s prohibition of the registration of shapes. Notably, the CJEU did not follow the February 2018 opinion of an advocate general, who wrote that the red color was intertwined with the shape of the sole.
Louboutin is known for designing high-heeled shoes for women. These are no ordinary shoes, however; over the years, they have become a status symbol because of their red outer soles and hefty price tag. As noted by rapper Belcalis Almanzar aka Cardi B in her hit song “Bodak Yellow”: “These expensive, these is red bottoms, these is bloody shoes. Hit the store, I can get ’em both, I don’t wanna choose.”
But the celebrity endorsements and popularity of the brand have not made obtaining—and maintaining—trademark registrations for the red soles a walk in the park; it has taken a lot of shoe leather. Continue Reading