Saturday, August 13, 2011

Louboutin versus YSL: Trademarks do not apply to fashion

Christian Louboutin has lost the battle to Yves Saint Laurent for the right to put red soles on shoes in a legal battle. A New York court took on the case of the two fashion foot labels in a bitter contest for the signature sole of Louboutin’s extremely expensive shoes. US District Judge, Victor Marrero ruled that even though Louboutin is well recognized for its red sole, it could not prevent rivals like YSL from doing the same thing. The million-dollar suit for "trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin" was filed in April in New York claiming that a series of YSL shoes would mislead consumers familiar with Louboutin's scarlet soles. Louboutin’s idea for red soles was copied from King Louis XIV's red-heeled dancing shoes. In 1992, he painted the bottom of a pair of shoes with red nail polish and launched a phenomenon. In 2008 he was awarded a trademark, and Louboutin lawyers began enforcing the mark to block knock-offs. In his judgement the judge ruled ‘the use of trademarks did not apply to fashion.’ Louboutin has until next Friday to give Judge Victor Marrero a good reason not to just rule that any shoemaker who wants to use red soles can use red soles.

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