If they ever decide to do a Legally Blonde 3, this YSL vs. Christian Louboutin case would be perfect for Elle Woods. The two designers (well, their lawyers) came head-to-head yesterday at a court hearing before the three judges who hold the fate of Louboutin’s red soles in their hands. Christian Louboutin himself attended as well. And as the Post began their report on the hearing, “The red soles were out in force.” Indeed, fans of the brand were actually at the courthouse yesterday afternoon wearing Louboutins to show their support. One of them was Fordham fashion-law professor Susan Scafidi, who told the Post she was “voting with her feet.”
While Louboutin sat there stoically, he probably felt his presence might help to show how important this trademark is to him and his business. “For YSL and [its parent company] PPR Group, this might just be a legal matter, but that’s not the case for me,” Louboutin told WWD. “On the contrary, to me it is very personal: After all, this is an intrinsic part of my life and my company, which bears my name — and which I have built over the past 20 years and still independently own. This is why I had to be there in person.”
Also there to show support: CFDA president and fellow designer Diane von Furstenberg, whose own lawyer has taken on Louboutin’s case, at the recommendation of Furstenberg. She’s not the first industry player to publicly side with Louboutin. Back in October, Tiffany & Co. filed a legal brief in support of his red soles (their own signature blue is at risk if Louboutin’s trademark is taken away).
The last big development in the case, which began in April when Louboutin filed suit against YSL for selling a red-soled shoe, was back in October when a judge not only denied Loubtoutin’s request for an injunction to prevent YSL from selling the shoes–but also questioned the validity of the designer’s red sole trademark, which he’s had since 2008, altogether. The hearing yesterday was to determine whether or not the judge, Victor Merrero, who said no one designer should have a “monopoly” on a color, ruled correctly.
Louboutin’s lawyer, Harley Lewin, argued that Louboutin’s mark was not meant to encompass the entire color red, but just one specific shade called “Chinese red:” “a particular color, in a particular place, on a particular item.” YSL argued that they make monochrome shoes and want to still be able to make red ones that are red everywhere, including the sole.
Since it was only a hearing, no decisions were made, but according to WWD, things looked good for Louboutin as the judges were critical of Judge Merrero’s opinion. A decision on whether or not Marrero’s verdict stands will be made soon.
For now, whose side are you on?