Desperately Seeking Salvation: Louboutin Makes Last Ditch Effort to Save Red-Sole

The Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent debacle has caught the attention of the fashion law world.  These are heavy hitters in the fashion industry that are scrapping it out over the infamous red-soled shoe (or generic - depending on whose team you are on).  CanadaFashionLaw has looked at this matter indepth: click here and also here for summaries. 

Pleadings have been plead, submissions have been made, evidence has been compiled (and ripped apart) and Christian Louboutin's counsel is ensuring that it gets the final word in.  In fact, Christian Louboutin's counsel recently submitted an "after the fact" letter to the court confirming its position.  To be honest, a lot of the details are redundant.  Here's a quick snapshot of Christian Louboutin's position:

  • Christian Louboutin's are notorious and iconic.
  • If the court does not grant a preliminary injunction against Yves Saint Laurent, it will create a flood gate for other infringers, thereby further diluting Louboutin's brand.  (If you're interested in learning about injunctions from a Canadian perspective, I give a quick explanation here).
  • Christian Louboutin's trade-mark registration covers red on the bottom of the sole.  There is no requirement under the US Trademarks Office's guidelines to specify exactly which shade or tone of red the registration covers.  It is up to competitors to sufficiently differentiate themselves from that color to avoid confusion in the marketplace.
  • Christian Louboutin's trade-mark registration is valid - there is no evidence that challenges the enforceability of the trade-mark registration.
  • The fact that Yves Saint Laurent largely started use of the red sole in relation to its shoes after Christian Louboutin demonstrates infringement, rather than happenstance or competitive necessity.
Stay tuned - I expect there will be more movement with this case.  Is anyone else reminded of a cat fight between Krystle and Alexis in Dynasty, or have I just dated myself?