Louis Vuitton’s signature chequered squares are not distinctive enough to be trade marked

Louis Vuitton- one of the worlds most valuable brands first started using the squares design in 1889 and, trademarked the design 100 years later. The first trade mark which was for the dark brown and beige square design was granted in 1998. The company registered a further trade mark in 2008, this trade mark was for the same design but the in the colours black and grey. Both these trade marks were used by the brand for leather brands and bags.

In 2008 Louis Vuitton applied to register its chequered squares as a trade mark. The following year Nanu-Nana filed an application to have the trade mark declared invalid. This was granted in 2011.

Louis Vuitton has been fighting to protect the trade mark since 2009, however in a blow to the company last week The European Union’s General Court upheld a previous ruling by the First Board of Appeal of the Office for Harmoniasation in the Internal Market (OHIM). It has been ruled that the chequered pattern does not differ enough to other leather goods and bags. Officials commented that the design is commonplace and not particularly associated with Louis Vuitton. As such the contested trade mark, in the absence of features capable of distinguishing it from other representations of checkerboards, was not capable of fulfilling the essential ‘identification’ or ‘origin’ function of a trade mark.

The European General Court has now cancelled two community trademarks registered by Louis Vuitton for its leather products.

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