News about color trademarks
Red shoe soles can be protected as a trademark. This was stated by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (C-163/16). Background: in 2010, the manufacturer Christian Louboutin registered Pantone 18663TP as a trademark in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and now sued the Dutch Deichmann subsidiary Van Haren, which also brought shoes with red soles onto the market. Van Haren took the opinion in court that colour is part of the unprotectable form, but did not convince the jury. A Dutch court will now decide whether Van Haren has to take the red shoes off the market and will be liable for damages.
A brief Internet search shows that not only in Europe Nivea, Langenscheidt, Milka, Telekom and others “protect their respective colors from imitation”, but important color brands also come from the United States: Tiffany (light turquoise), 3M-PostIt (yellow), UPS (brown) and JohnDeere (green/yellow) are approved well-known examples in Europe. The respective colours may not be used by any competitor for similar products.
Comment: The commercialization of our sensations is well progressing. When will pain, anger, grief and other feelings become protectable, when do we have to pay for love license fee to Hollywood? Thoughts are free, says the vernacular – we should remember.
small>pictures: Christian Louboutin: Wikipedia/Christian Louboutin Documentary, Tiffany: Wikimedia Commons/Adriana Górak, shoes: arte France, UPS: Wikimedia Commons/Magnus Manske, PostIt: Wikimedia Commons/Disk Depot