Louboutin Trademark Case: Yves Saint Laurent Gets a Leg Up in the Shoe Biz

Christian Louboutin’s trademark on red-soled shoes was kicked aside last month in US District Court, setting the stage for Yves Saint Laurent (and others) to sell their own shoes with red soles. For fashionistas around the world, an update on the ruling from lawyers and law firms on JD Supra: 

Louboutin Gets the Boot: S.D.N.Y. Judge Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Trademark Dispute Over Signature Red Soles (Venable LLP):

“In the end, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero sided with Yves Saint Laurent, rejecting Louboutin’s request for a preliminary injunction and holding that the Lanham Act does not permit designers to corner the market on a color—even if that color has gained enough public recognition to have acquired secondary meaning.” Read more»

Louboutin sees red: signature red sole shoes not protected against copyright and trade mark infringement (International Lawyers Network):

“Judge Victor Marrero ruled that Louboutin’s Trade Mark was ‘overly broad’ and most likely not protectable. He implied that the trade mark should be cancelled despite the fact that he described Louboutin’s shoes as ‘a product visually so eccentric and striking that it is easily perceived and remembered’.” Read more»

Court Denies Louboutin Preliminary Injunction: Holds Fashion Blind to Single Color Marks (Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP):

“The Court held that ‘[b]ecause in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition, the Court finds that Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection, even if it has gained enough public recognition in the market to have acquired secondary meaning.’” Read more»

Louboutin in Danger of Losing the Red-Soled Trademark (Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.):

“Both interested lawyers and fashion aficionados have been awaiting some form of decision, and our wishes were granted a couple weeks ago when Judge Victor Marrero denied Louboutin’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented YSL from selling the red-soled shoes in its Cruise 2011 collection. Shipgoers everywhere sighed in relief.” Read more»

Additional Commentary and Analysis

YSL has Louboutin Seeing Red (Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP):

“Plaintiffs further allege that: YSL shoe models Tribute, Tribtoo, Palais, and Woodstock all appear now to carry the copy of Plaintiffs’ Red Sole Mark. … [and] seek injunctive relief to prevent YSL from any further sales of red-soled shoes, profits allegedly earned through sales of the accused infringing shoes, actual damages, statutory damages, interest, and costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.” Read more»

The Designer of Everyone’s Favorite Red Heeled Shoes Sues to Protect His Empire (Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.):

“French designer Christian Louboutin is one of the most exciting high fashion shoe designers in the world. Initially, he developed his now famous trademarked Red Sole Mark shoes by merely using red nail polish on the bottom of a shoe nineteen years ago. In August 2006, he registered the mark described as ‘The color(s) red is/are claimed as a feature of the mark. The color red appears in the design representing a stylized red sole.’” Read more»

[Bonus update because, wow, your heels have sole that no one can trademark: Dressing for Success: Congress’s Latest Fashion Bill]


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