Update – High Heel Wars – Louboutin vs YSL

August 10, 2011 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - High Heel Fashion, News

The signature red soles on Christian Louboutin high heels may one day be showing up on shoes sold anywhere!

A court ruling today refused to grant a preliminary injunction requested by Christian Louboutin against Yves Saint Laurent alleging trademark infringement on shoes that featured red soles suspiciously similar to those of Louboutin’s. The decision not only cleared the way for YSL to continue producing its shoes, but also seemed to give coverage to other shoe manufacturers who may want to add a scarlet underpinning to their own future models.

The federal judge ruled that the trademark Louboutin obtained in 2008 for its “lacquered red soles” was “overly broad” and likely not protectable. The court ruled that allowing Louboutin to claim that scarlet sole as solely its own would have been like enjoining Monet from using a specific shade of blue in his Water Lilies series because Picasso had gotten there first with the paintings in his Blue Period. The parties have been ordered back to court next week.

We will continue to track this story and give updates on the outcome.

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High Heel Wars – Louboutin vs YSL

April 29, 2011 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - News

French footwear designer Christian Louboutin has filed a lawsuit against rival Yves Saint Laurent, a subsidiary of the Gucci Group, over the use of the color red on shoe soles. Louboutin launched his line of high-end women’s shoes in France in 1991. Since 1992, his designs have incorporated the shiny, red-lacquered soles that have

 

become his signature. Since January 2011, Louboutin has requested YSL to stop selling red-soled shoes in the same boutiques in Manhattan as he does. He claims that as it is virtually identical to Louboutin’s use of the red-sole, it is likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public.

In 1992, Christian began incorporating the red sole into the design of all his footwear. Since then he has trademark the idea. To the right is displayed just one of Louboutin’s popular red lacquered high heel pumps. Styles such as these can fetch more than $1000 a pair!

Louboutin high heels

 
Yves Saint Laurent heels

To the left is a pair of Yves Saint Laurent red soled high heel pumps. Although the soles are red, they don’t appear to be much of a match of Louboutin’s use of red lacquer. It appears that YSL is actually matching the sole color to the shoe color on many styles, and not trying to impersonate or cause confusion. There are three styles in question — the Tribute, Palais and Woodstock. These styles also come in green and purple, with green and purple matching soles, respectively.

The law suit asks for a U.S. judge to impose $1 million in damages and order YSL to stop manufacturing similar designs.

 

We think Louboutin would be better off going after companies selling fakes and knockoffs, or even the manufacturers in China who are producing them. Louboutin isn’t stopping at Yves Saint Laurent. The company has filed a second lawsuit against Sao Paulo-based Carmen Steffens of Brazil for shoes with “rosette” soles. In order for these companies to win, they will most likely need to prove that the use of the color is functional.
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