Louboutin Wins Appeal in the Trademark Case of the Red-Soled Shoes

by T+B Blog Team on September 6, 2012

Finally, a decision in the case that everyone’s been waiting for!

Christian Louboutin’s red-soled shoe is entitled to limited trademark protection. “Limited” because it extends only to the red lacquered outer sole that contrasts with the color of the rest of the shoe — not to monochromatically red shoes.

In addition, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York affirmed the lower court’s denial of the injunction against Yves Saint Laurent and sent the case back to the trial judge.

“The district court’s conclusion that a single color can never serve as a trademark in the fashion industry was based on an incorrect understanding of the doctrine of aesthetic functionality,” U.S. Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes noted in the court decision. “We conclude that the trademark, as thus modified, is entitled to trademark protection.”

The decision stated that the Yves Saint Laurent’s use of red on its outer sole on monochromatic red shoes did not infringe on the Louboutin trademark. An attorney representing Yves St. Laurent said the company plans to continue producing monochromatic shoes with red outer soles.

If you’d like to refresh your memory on how this all started, take a moment to read one of our earlier posts.

So, do you think this is a victory for the fashion industry?

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