Prohibition Van Haren for stiletto heels with red sole

Christian Louboutin has caused a revival of the stiletto heel. His shoes are easily recognizable by its red sole (and the 500.- to 1,000.- Euro price tag). Because of its stark contrast with the rest of the shoe, the red sole is stand out feature on all designs since 1992. It is an exclusive brand that celebrities such as Emma Stone and Jessica Alba swear by. To protect his rights Christian Louboutin filed an image of the shoe as a trademark.

The shoes are an international success and in order to ensure her interests Louboutin protected its red soles, not only to act against pure counterfeiting, but also against coat tail riding. Van Haren introduced black stiletto heels for 50.- Euros, which prompted Louboutin to act immediately.

The Court in The Hague agreed with Louboutin that Van Haren infringed her trademark rights. The red sole is not a decorative element, but a trademark through acquired distinctiveness. The fact that the general consumer sees the red sole as a trademark is confirmed by the widespread counterfeiting on the market.

Van Haren’s shoe is visually similar to such a degree that a consumer may assume it is a Louboutin. Consequence: prohibition on sale of this shoes on penalty of 500,- per pair.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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