IP News Snippets: Trademark Outcomes for Porsche, Prosecco and Louboutin

IP News Snippets: Trademark Outcomes for Porsche, Prosecco and Louboutin

The latest trademark news involving Porsche’s participation in Formula 1 via a trademark hint, Italy’s win in gaining geographical indication protection and Louboutin’s colour mark registration loss in Japan.

German automobile manufacturer Porsche hints at participation in one of the most exciting grids in motorsports as the company trademarks the phrase ‘F1nally’. 

Porsche is reported to have filed the trademark application with the German Patent & Trademark Office, signifying the company’s entry into Formula 1 racing. The application was proposed on 10th August 2022, including a range of classes from video games, software design, technological development and product merchandising. 

Porsche is expected to be joining powers with Red Bull Racing upon the refresh of regulations regarding power units in 2026. Both companies are expected to enter a partnership in the near future with Porsche taking a 50 percent stake in Red Bull Technology. An official statement has yet to be released regarding the partnership. However, reports suggest both parties working together to develop a new power unit for the future F1 2026 season. 

A bilateral agreement has been secured between the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the New Zealand government to ensure sparkling wines made in other countries besides Italy cannot label their products as ‘Prosecco’ in New Zealand. 

The implementation of this agreement marks a strengthening of the GI protection for Prosecco DOC trademarks — a win for Italian Prosecco producers. According to the agreement, Kiwi winemakers are summoned to cease the use of ‘Prosecco’ on their wines within the next five years. Producers are also required to state the place of origin on the packaging of their wines. 

In late 2021, Prosecco DOC finally acquired trademark protection in China after submitting an application 7 years prior. The trademark application has been subject to objections by Australian winemakers who produce and sell sparkling wines under the Prosecco name. New Zealand accounts for a major amount for Australian sparkling wine exports. Hence, the agreement could spell trouble for the Australian wine industry upon its implementation. 

French fashion house Christian Louboutin loses out on trademark protection for its world famous red sole for the second time as the Japan Patent Office refused to approve a colour mark registration for the luxury brand. 

In 2015, Louboutin filed a trademark application for high heeled soles in a shade of red detailed as Pantone 18-1663TP. The application was rejected and Louboutin subsequently retaliated with an appeal against the decision. Unfortunately for Louboutin, the board of examiners rejected the application once again. The battle for trademark registration has lasted at least seven years for the French shoemakers. 

Competitors in Japan have kept Louboutin on edge as similar products are found in the Japanese market. A footwear company based in Japan named EIZO collection was taken to court by Louboutin in 2018 due to the trading of red soled shoes by the Japanese company. A grand total of 42 million yen was claimed by Louboutin in damages. 

Louboutin’s red sole was created in 1993 and has achieved worldwide recognition since. The brand’s signature red trademark has been registered in over 50 countries, such as Singapore, United States and the European Union, but not in Japan. It is reported that the Japan Patent Office has approved of less than ten colour mark registrations thus far with zero registrations of single colour marks in favour of marks consisting of a combination of colours. 

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