Van Haren loses red-soled shoe case



While the score was 1-1 at half time for German-owned Dutch shoe chain Van Haren that had received advice from top experts that they would most probably win their case against French brand Louboutin with their trademarked red-lacquered sole, Van Haren has now lost their case at the European Court of Justice, making it a 2-1 victory for Louboutin.

A few years ago, German-owned Dutch shoe chain Van Haren was selling red-soled shoes that were very similar to Louboutin’s iconic high heels. Louboutin was not amused and took Van Haren to court. The European Court received advice from their top experts that ‘you can’t trademark a colour if it stops the competition from making wares with the same functionality, especially combined with the form’, and most folks thought that’s the way the ruling would go, but it didn’t.

Yesterday, judges rejected the official advice of their own top lawyer who said in February that the red soles could not be trademarked. Louboutin has faced a series of legal battles over its distinctive soles. A Paris appeals court in May ruled against the French shoe company Kesslord after it sold red-bottomed shoes and ordered it to pay 7,500 euro in damages to Louboutin.

(Link:, Photo of Louboutin shoe by Arroser, some rights reserved)

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