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Acquired Distinctiveness in the EU After the Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Case

Overcoming Challenges in Demonstrating Distinctiveness for Mark Without Inherent Distinctive Character

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will guide IP counsel on acquired distinctiveness in the EU. The panel will examine the EU General Court's recent decision in the Louis Vuitton Damier Azur trademark and the lessons that can be learned from the decision. The panel will address the challenges in demonstrating acquired distinctiveness and what steps companies can take to overcome those challenges.


In late 2022, the General Court of the European Union dismissed an appeal by Louis Vuitton of the cancellation of its trademark checkerboard Damier Azur pattern. The company had filed for the mark in 2008 and it was registered by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in 2009. The mark was challenged in 2015 when an application for a declaration of invalidity was filed and later granted. Louis Vuitton appealed to the EUIPO and eventually to the General Court. The General Court's decision demonstrates how challenging it is for trademark owners and applicants to prove acquired distinctiveness through use in the EU.

One of the challenges in the EU is that a trademark must be or must have become distinctive in essentially all member states. Considering the variation in language and culture between EU countries, it can be difficult to show how consumer perceptions and market conditions in each of the countries support a claim of EU-wide acquired distinctiveness.

Counsel for multinational companies often must seek trademark protection in the EU. Consequently, it is critical that they understand the requirements for demonstrating distinctiveness and how to best plan to meet the requirements.

Listen as our authoritative panel of IP attorneys examines the EU General Court's decision confirming the cancellation of the Louis Vuitton checkerboard trademark and the lessons that can be learned from the decision, offering perspectives from both EU and U.S. practitioners. The panel will address the challenges in demonstrating acquired distinctiveness for a mark that does not have inherent distinctive character and what steps companies can take to overcome those challenges, with a comparison of how the standards differ from U.S. practice and a particular lens on strategies for U.S.-based multinational companies.



  1. Louis Vuitton Damier Azur case and the lessons it provides
  2. Acquired distinctiveness and inherent distinctive character
  3. Practical considerations
  4. Best practices for overcoming challenges with proving distinctiveness


The panel will review these and other relevant issues:

  • What strategies have trademark applicants used to successfully demonstrate distinctiveness in the EU?
  • What lessons can be learned from the recent Louis Vuitton decision?
  • What best practices should counsel employ to demonstrate acquired distinctiveness in the EU?


Arbant, Geraldine
Geraldine Arbant

Bird & Bird

Ms. Arbant has extensive experience in copyright and trademark law. She is an outstanding litigator known for her...  |  Read More

Azema, Charlene
Charlene A. Azema

Knobbe Martens

Ms. Azema counsels clients in domestic and international trademark and copyright portfolio management, including...  |  Read More

Kunz-Hallstein, Roberto
Roberto Kunz-Hallstein

Dr. Kunz-Hallstein Rechtsanwälte

Mr. Kunz-Hallstein practices in all fields of intellectual property, especially in trademark prosecution and...  |  Read More

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