Christian Louboutin Denied Injunction Against YSL to Stop Using Iconic Red Soles

August 10, 2011

No one can deny that the red sole on a perfect pair of pumps is synonymous with footwear designer Christian Louboutin.  Since coming up with the brilliant idea of branding the soles of his shoes with his iconic red paint, millions of women the world over have coveted his creations.  For many women, the red sole equates to power, wealth and affluence, a reason why those who cannot afford Louboutins have gone as far as painting their shoes red or buying pull-and-peel red soles for their shoes.  As they say, fake it ’til you make it.

Sure you can’t fake fashion with knock-offs but what happens when equally high end brands start knocking off your one of the essential components of your brand? Go to court and file a cease and desist, of course.  Christian Louboutin did just that against Yves Saint Laurent for copying his iconic red soles.  The hot and heavy rounds in court came to a climactic end this afternoon in Manhattan, when a judge denied Louboutin’s injuction for YSL to stop using his red soles.

The ruling judge, Victor Marrero, wrote:
“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.”

Christian Louboutin’s attorney Harley Lewin added:
I think the court is completely wrong. The court essentially indicated that it does not believe that a single color can be a trademark in the fashion industry. We’re disheartened.”

Imitation might be the best form of flattery but Louboutin thinks YSL and other companies making red sole shoes are capitalizing on his idea. There’s no telling what will happen to the brand’s image if more brands jump on the bandwagon to put red on the soles of their shoes, but we’re certain women will still flock to the original red sole.

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