Fashion and the French-Belgian Revolution 15 Apr 2014

As widely recently reported, the Brussels District Court has held the depicted Christian Louboutin’s Belgian trademark registration invalid.


The court issued its judgment in the context of trademark infringement action initiated by Louboutin against Van Dalen Footwear B.V. over the sale of red-sole shoes. Van Dalen counter-claimed invalidity of the trademarlk registration relied upon on the basis that the mark signs consists of a shape that gives substantial value to the goods designated.

The Court was convinced and held for the defendant, siding (at least in terms of the result) with the French Supreme Court, which on May 2012 had held that Louboutin’s red-sole trademark lacks distinctive character.

On the other hand, OHIM’s Board of Appeal has ruled that the red-sole mark is fanciful and unexpected and, so, eligible for registration as a Community Trademark. So what is all this talk about “harmonized” trademark law in the European Union?