Louis Vuitton’s iconic design is now under serious threat

Louis Vuitton leather products could soon be a lot less exclusive – a European court has ruled that the brand has no right to trademark its iconic chequerboard pattern.

Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian with their Louis Vuitton bags


A firm-favourite of celebrities, Louis Vuitton has been trying to legally protect two of its designs since 2009. But now the EU General Court has said its dark brown and beige pattern trademark, which it registered back in 1998, and a black and grey version registered in 2008 cannot be exclusively used by the 160-year old French fashion-house. The court ruled the pattern was “basic and banal” and was composed of “very simple elements”.

The Louis Vuitton boutique on the Champs-Elysees in Paris


Like all designer brands, Louis Vuitton takes its exclusivity very seriously – ruthlessly pursuing manufacturers of fake merchandise.

Burberry is still fighting a similar legal case to protect its famous Haymarket check. However, in 2012 a US court declared that no one but Christian Louboutin can use red soles on footwear.

Beyonce is a fan of Christian Louboutin's distinctive red soles


Louis Vuitton is worth more than €20bn – a figure which makes it one of the world’s most valuable brands. It is currently headed by 43-year old Nicolas Ghesquiere, who was previously creative director at Balenciaga.