Corporate Partner, Jonathan Abrams was quoted in the World IP Review today about the ongoing Christian Louboutin Trade Mark case. Here is the article (link can be found below):
Louboutin’s trademark journey continues
On Tuesday, WIPR reported that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) began hearing arguments over whether Christian Louboutin can trademark red soles on high-heeled shoes.
Jonathan Abrams, partner at Gregory, Abrams Davidson, explained that previous rulings for Louboutin have made interesting viewing.
“Anyone who is following the company’s international trademark journeys will recall favourable decisions in China, Australia, Russia, in addition to a setback earlier this year when the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland decided that the red soles are merely an ‘aesthetic’ element and should not receive trademark protection,” he explained.
He also referenced decisions from New York in 2012 to deny copyright protection but uphold the company’s trademark (as long as the body of the shoe is a contrasting colour).
The pending CJEU decision “will establish a pan-European precedent for both Louboutin and the issues of what constitutes a shape”, he added.
Despite the preliminary assessment appearing to support Louboutin, Abrams said it is unlikely this will be the end of the IP litigation road for the company.
“Judging by their relative litigiousness previously, the brand will continue to fight for protection of its red sole globally,” he said.
“If anything, the current EU case provides another looking glass through which we can see how IP law, especially where it involves attempting to claim a monopoly on a given colour, differs from one jurisdiction to another.
“IP protection will always be a challenge where the colour may be viewed by consumers as simply aesthetic, as opposed to a guarantee of origin, and this seems to be the root cause of the differing international decisions.”