By Catherine Maminska
The General Court of the European Union Court of Justice (decision of 11 July 2013, in Case T-208/12, Think Schuhwerk GmbH v OHIM, only available in German and French) found that the application for a trademark consisting of red ends of shoelaces for “footwear, in particular shoelaces” was not eligible for registration as it lacked distinctiveness.
According to the Court the coloured ends of shoelaces are indistinguishable from the appearance of the goods themselves so that the relevant average consumers will not make assumptions as to their commercial origin
Since red-coloured shoelaces do not significantly depart from customs of the industry and shoe designers can chose from a wide variety of design and in particular colour options, the red colour at the end of shoelaces is not capable to indicate the trade origin of the goods claimed.
This decision is in line with the arguments of the Court in a similar case of orange/red colour at the tiptoe end of socks (decision of 15 June 2010 in Case T-547/08 – X Technology Swiss GmbH v OHIM).
Lets see what red part of shoes comes next. We already had red soles, red ends of shoelaces and red/orange tiptoes.