Christian Louboutin wins right to protect red sole trademark
The U.S Federal Court of Appeals rules that Christian Louboutin can protect its iconic red soled shoes from copycats.
Christian Louboutin has been granted the right to protect its Red Sole trademark by the New York Federal Appeals Court.
The court's decision to overturn an earlier ruling by the lower Federal Court will come as a great relief to the French shoemaker which has been embroiled in legal proceedings with Yves Saint Laurent over a pair of 'copycat' red soled shoes from the label's 2011 Resort collection.
In August 2011, Federal judge, Victor Marrero, denied Louboutin's request that the shoes in question be blocked from sale stating in his ruling that 'Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection'.
The appeals court has however partially overturned that decision, ruling that Louboutin can protect his trademark red soles, except when the shoe itself is red.
Since the case brought against Yves Saint Laurent referred to a pair of red suede shoes with red soles, this ruling would not affect sales of the shoes in question. However the ruling will send a clear message out to any other brands wishing to sell red soled shoes in future.
"It is good news for the fashion world that an iconic part of a brand has been granted protection in this way," Simon Bennett, partner at Fox Wiliams Fashion Law Group said.
"A lot of people around the world are watching this case closely because although this ruling technically doesn't hold outside the U.S, what happens there, tends to follow across Europe. This will send out a clear message to brands worldwide."
"If Louboutin had lost the validity of the trademark in the U.S, he would have been dead in the water," added Rachael Cook, Fox Williams associate, "now Louboutin does at least have the right to contest any future trademark infringement."
Christian Louboutin, whose luxury, red-soled shoes are worn by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Sarah Jessica Parker, started legal proceedings against Yves Saint Laurent America Inc. in New York, in April 2011.
Mr Louboutin was seeking more than $1million damages for alleged infringement of his 'Red Sole' trademark, claiming that he was the first designer to develop the idea of having red soles on women's shoes.
The case has now been referred back to the district court for more proceedings.
Belinda White Telegraph.co.uk