The European Union’s General Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by H&M in the long-running case and ordered the fast-fashion giant to pay court costs, including those incurred by Yves Saint Laurent before the Boards of Appeal of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs), or OHIM.
Officials at Saint Laurent and H&M declined to comment on the decision.
H&M had asked the OHIM in 2009 to cancel YSL’s trademarks for the Tribute, a tote bag with short handles, on the grounds that it lacked individual characteristics. To back its claim, the retailer submitted technical sketches for an earlier H&M handbag model that bore similarities to the Tribute.
The office rejected its claims, saying that differences in shape, structure and surface finish played a decisive role in the global impression produced by the bags. The general court said on Thursday it backed this opinion, adding that any similarities between the two bag models were “insignificant” as a result.
The low-key case contrasts with the highly publicized battle between Yves Saint Laurent and French shoemaker Christian Louboutin, which ended in 2012 with a New York federal appeals court ruling that Louboutin would be able to protect its red-sole mark for shoes with contrasting uppers.