Japan defeat for Louboutin over red sole trade mark

High end shoe brand Christian Louboutin have lost a trade mark claim against a rival brand who featured a red sole in their designs.

Japanese company Eizo Collection Co., Ltd were on the receiving end of a claim stating that they had infringed the red sole rights held by Louboutin for featuring a red sole on their own shoes, and therefore the use of the red sole was unfair competition.

The Court sided with Eizo making it clear that Christian Louboutin had not provided sufficient evidence that they held rights over the red sole in Japan. They don’t have a registered trade mark but claimed they have unregistered rights through acquired distinctiveness by providing sales information and survey evidence, but this was dismissed by the Court.

The Tokyo District Court found that the colour red has been readily used on shoe soles in Japan and therefore this feature is not unique to Louboutin and its products.

As there was no confusion, even the unfair competition claim fell away, as the price points for the products were of such a differing level, consumers would be clear as to the two brands.

Having struggled to get the registered trade mark for the sole over the line in Japan since 2015, this is another trade mark blow for Christian Louboutin.

If you would like to discuss how to protect your trade marks internationally, please get in touch today.

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