In the Case of the Red Soles, Louboutin Faces An Uphill Battle

Though they gained a small victory when a Manhattan judge threw out evidence from Yves Saint Laurent‘s attorneys demonstrating a history of other companies using red soles, Christian Louboutin lost a far more important part of their lawsuit over YSL red-soled shoes.

Louboutin sought an injunction that would have stopped Yves Saint Laurent from selling their red-soled shoes, but Judge Victor Marrero wrote in his ruling: “Because 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.” {NY Daily News}

In other words, even though they filed for a trademark, Marrero’s opinion is that a color shouldn’t have been approved for a trademark in the first place and Yves Saint Laurent is free to continue selling their red-soled shoes while the larger case of trademark infringement is being decided.

Louboutin can always appeal the ruling,  but the judge’s position doesn’t provide much optimism for an eventual ruling in favor of Christian Louboutin. In addition to being expensive and time consuming, once a certain number of judges agree that any rulings are legally sound, appeals can be rejected before they’re even started.

Looks like it may be safe to order those DIY red soles soon.


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