Christian Louboutin's shoes may give you an orgasm, but the current trademark lawsuit over their red soles will give you a headache. Nonetheless, Louboutin's most recent claims are pretty interesting.As you may remember, Louboutin sued YSL in New York Federal Court in April because the latter was selling a shoe with a red sole: Louboutin's trademark, which the company legally obtained in 2008. Louboutin wanted a court-ordered injunction to stop YSL from selling the shoes while the case was in review. Instead, the presiding judge decided that maybe Louboutin's trademark--the one obtained in '08--wasn't even valid and that one designer shouldn't be able to have a "monopoly" on a color. Louboutin has been fighting back ever since and filed their appeal brief this Monday.
Louboutin's counsel's argument has been that the red sole is too vital to the brand's identity and allowing other companies to use it would be harmful to the company, which is pretty valid if you ask us. According to WWD, this latest appeal brief reiterates Louboutin's main points and takes it a bit further, saying the judge made “errors of law in determining that Louboutin’s red outsole mark was likely invalid.”
The brief also acknowledges the part consumers play in terms of brand recognition, saying Louboutin's “trademark status has been conferred upon it by the consuming public…only public recognition can breathe life into another mark, whether it be a single color, several colors or another design element.”
Louboutin's lawyer told WWD that both sides have until the end of the year to make their case and a decision should be reached by early spring "if not earlier."
The whole case now is no longer really about YSL and more about Louboutin possibly losing their trademark on red soles, which would likely open a set of floodgates, making it okay for any brand to slap a red sole on their pumps; and putting other companies with a trademark on specific color, like Tiffany & Co., at risk of meeting a similar fate.
Are you as nervous about this as we are?