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Christian Louboutin Wins Legal Battle Over Signature Red Soles

Judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) know exactly what brand of footwear Cardi B is referring to when she raps: “these expensive, these are red bottoms, these is bloody shoes.”

The ECJ ruled in favor of luxury footwear label Christian Louboutin Tuesday. The French company went to court to protect its signature Pantone 18 1663TP red soles—a style that has become synonymous with slinky red carpet and boudoir fashion.

Christian Louboutin accused Dutch high-street retailer Van Haren of trademark infringement for selling high heel shoes with red soles. Van Haren argued that under EU law, a company could not trademark the shape of a sole.

However, the court ruled that Christian Louboutin’s 2010 registered trademark is for the red color of the sole, not the actual shape of the sole. The trademark filing depicts a high heel with a red bottom, but the contour of the shoe is not part of the trademark.

“The mark does not relate to a specific shape of sole for high-heeled shoes since the description of that mark explicitly states that the contour of the shoe does not form part of the mark and is intended purely to show the positioning of the red color covered by the registration,” ECJ said.

The case will now be referred back to The Hague Court, which is expected to confirm the validity of the red sole trademark.

In a statement, Christian Louboutin said the company “warmly welcomes” the judgement.

“The shoes of Maison Christian Louboutin stand out through their originality, the choice of materials used and the quality of their creation. For 26 years, the red sole has enabled the public to attribute the origin of the shoe to its creator, Christian Louboutin,” the company noted.

Christian Louboutin has a “zero tolerance” policy in place for makers and sellers of fake products. On its website, it urges consumers to be wary of deals that look too good to be true. It also has an “online store checker” for shoppers to verify that they are purchasing Christian Louboutin shoes from an authorized retailer.

In 2017, the company successfully got more than 18,000 web pages that were infringing on its copyrights removed from search engines.