Fashion's Night Out in Canada?

Every Wednesday CanadaFashionLaw religiously reads the Trade-marks Journal issued by the Canadian Trade-marks Office (what can we say - we love trade-marks!!).  Something caught our eye that we thought was worthy of a quick blurb.

It looks like Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. (the owner of Vogue magazine) is seeking trade-mark protection for FASHION'S NIGHT OUT in Canada.  The application is based on a combination of use and proposed use and spans a myriad of wares and services.  

For those of you not in the know, give yourself a slap on the wrist!  Fashion's NIght Out is the brain child of the reverred Anna Wintour and essentially started as a shopping festival in Manhattan.  It happens one night a year (this year it's on September 6, 2012) and is an after-hours shopping extravaganza!  Its modus operandi is to "celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry's economy".  It has since expanded beyond the confines of Manhattan and the following countries also participate in the event: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom  To date, Canada has not participated in the event.

But if the Canadian trade-mark applcation is any indication, is Fashion's Night Out looking to expand to Canada??!!

If yes, ladies and gents - clear your credit cards!  There may be some shopping to be done!!  After all, it's altrustic to help the country's economy, no?

CanadaFashionLaw will keep you posted on developments of this! 

Louboutin's Rolling Up His Sleeves

Following this week's decision in France against Christian Louboutin, the man himself issued a statement showing that he stands by his brand and is ready to put up a fight:

"Much of the discussion either implies or states that through this ruling we have lost our rights to our world famous Red Sole Trademark. We would like to clarify that what has been disputed and canceled is only one French registration of said Red sole Trademark. Christian Louboutin continues to own valid and enforceable trademark rights in its Red Sole Trademark, including in France itself as well as throughout the world. A number of court decisions have recognised the strong association between Christian Louboutin and the Red Sole Trademark, including in France. Christian Louboutin will continue to protect and enforce its rights to its Red Sole Trademark which has been its iconic signature for the past 20 years. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who continually show support to our brand."
You go girlfriend!

(By the way, Christian Louboutin owns a trade-mark registration in Canada for the Red Sole Trademark.  The Canadian trade-mark registration does narrow the color claim by including a Pantone reference in the color claim.) 

The Other Shoe Drops

Zut alors! 

Christian Louboutin is not having a good year with the judicial system and must be seeing red! 

CanadaFashionLaw has extensively covered Christian Louboutin’s dispute with Yves Saint Laurent in the US, with respect to YSL’s use of the red-soled shoes.  Christian Louboutin suffered a blow when he was denied a preliminary injunction against YSL’s use of the red-soled shoes.  The decision went a step further and called into question the registrability of Christian Louboutin’s trade-mark or whether any color can be registered in the fashion industry.  (This decision is currently being appealed).  Needless to say, some parties were less than delighted with the decision and we saw Tiffany and INTA put in their two cents.

Malheuresement, Christian Louboutin has suffered another blow.  Christian Louboutin took high-street chain store Zara to court over its use of red-soled shoes in France.  Although Christian Louboutin initially won, Zara appealed on the basis that Christian Louboutin’s trade-mark registration was too vague (i.e. the registration did not include a Pantone color claim).  Christian Louboutin was unsuccessful in appealing Zara’s victory.  The French court of appeal recently issued its decision in favour of Zara.  Adding insult to injury, Christian Louboutin was also required to pay some of Zara’s legal costs as compensation.  This decision does not extend beyond France.  In the meantime, Christian Louboutin is attempting to mitigate any further damage to its brand by filing a new trade-mark application that has a narrower and more specific color claim. 

Christian Louboutin’s struggle to maintain its brand monopoly has piqued a lot of interest from lawyers, consumers and the media.  CanadaFashionLaw has had the opportunity to discuss this on many occasions and is always fascinated at how polarizing the debate is.  Whereas some believe Christian Louboutin’s position to be ridiculous (generally, these are not trade-mark professionals or fashionistas), others strongly believe that Christian Louboutin is “famous” for its red-soled shoes and should reap the benefits.  To a large extent, this goes back to the age-old debate: 

Is fashion art? 
Or is fashion innately functional? 

In an industry where trends are a central concept, is infringement acceptable?  If one shoe is sold at the $1,000 starting point, can there really be confusion with a similar shoe that is sold at the $50 starting point?  If the function of intellectual property laws is to reward ingenuity, why is fashion design piracy more acceptable?
CanadaFashionLaw wants to know where you stand.