October 20, 2006: Protection of the shape of a shoe sole

In its decision opposing Tod’s SpA and Heyraud companies, the French Court of First Instance applied the decision of the ECJ dated June 30, 2005 ruling that « the right of an author to claim in a Member State the copyright protection afforded by the law of that State may not be subject to a distinguishing criterion based on the country of origin of the work ».

In this case, the Italian company Tod’s claimed – and obtained- the protection of several shoe designs by copyright in France, eventhough they can not be protected in Italy on this ground, because Italy only grants protection to registered designs. Besides, the Court decided that the waveshaped characteristic design of the sole and letters printed on the front of the shoe were not exclusively useful but also aesthetics, and then have to be protected. Accordingly, the Court condemned Heyraud for counterfeiting acts.

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