This is in the context of long-running litigation over the (in)famous Louboutin red soles.
The question for the CJEU to address is whether the notion of 'shape' within Article 3(1)(e)(iii) of Directive 2008/95 is limited to three-dimensional elements of a product or can also include two-dimensional ones like, for instance, a colour.
Article 3 sets the absolute grounds for refusal of registration. Article 3(1)(iii) prevents registration of signs which consist exclusively of the 'shape' which gives substantial value to the goods.
This Kat understands that not all language versions of the directive speak of 'shape'. Indeed, the French version refers to 'forme', the German version speaks of 'form', and the Italian version speaks of 'forma'. In Italian a 'forma' is not necessarily three-dimensional, but can also be two-dimensional, and the same is true in French and German as well.
So is the English (and possibly Dutch?) version of the directive unduly restrictive?
As reported by IE Forum, this is question (in Dutch) that the Rechtbank den Haag has just referred to everybody's favourite court:
"Is het begrip vorm in de zin van artikel 3 lid 1e onder iii van Richtlijn 2008/95/EG (in de Duitse, Engelse en Franse versie van de Merkenrichtlijn respectievelijk Form, shape en forme) beperkt tot de driedimensionale eigenschappen van de waar zoals de/het (‘in drie dimensies uit te drukken') contouren, afmetingen en volume daarvan, dan wel ziet deze bepaling mede op andere (niet-driedimensionale,) eigenschappen van de waar zoals kleur?"
Stay tuned because as soon as further information becomes available, this blog will duly report.