A fashion head-to-head that almost trumps the rivalry between Apple and Samsung has finally come to an end today as a US Court of Appeals has just ruled that Christian Louboutin has sole trademark (pun intended) of his signature red-soled shoes. That however, doesn’t mean that Louboutin won’t be seeing red soles from other designers since the ruling doesn’t apply to all-red shoes.
According to the court decision, the trademark is limited “to uses in which the red outsole contrasts with the color of the rest of the shoe.” This little exception to the rule can be a slight sting for Louboutin since he filed this lawsuit in the hope of preventing YSL from selling monochromatic red pumps in the first place.
Although this appears to be the end to this legal drama, we don’t really think it completely solved the very root of this lawsuit. Apart from affirming that the red sole is Louboutin’s to use and abuse, we don’t think he’ll enjoy the company of other shoe designers rolling out all-red shoes in the future.
So what happens now? Louboutin said in a statement that they are “extremely pleased and gratified” with the decision, adding that the brand’s world-famous Red Sole trademark is, in fact, a “valid” argument. However, they did note that they “will study today’s ruling at great length” and will “continue to take all steps available to protect our trademark.” Whether or not the shoe designer is looking at making red soles truly and legally his, we may have to wait.
YSL, on the other hand, is reveling about the decision, saying that they “succeeded” in defending themselves from Louboutin’s lawsuit. “We are pleased to have fought successfully for YSL’s right to produce the highest quality original designs, inspired by and developed in an open creative environment, and in so doing to defend this freedom on behalf of the entire creative community,” furthered the spokesperson.
Lawyer David H. Bernstein of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, who represented YSL, commented that this is “a complete win for YSL” and that the brand can continue making the said shoes without infringing on “any trademark rights” of Louboutin.
Photos from Net-a-Porter