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Louboutin Wins Trademark Protection of Red Soles, Kind Of

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Louboutin shoes by valeyoshino on Flickr

Louboutin shoes by valeyoshino on Flickr

The Second Circuit has ruled that Christian Louboutin can trademark his famous red soles so long as they contrast with the rest of the shoe.

This amounts to a partial win for Louboutin since the lawsuit had been based on Yves Saint Laurent’s intention of producing “monochrome” shoes, including an all red pair. Accordingly, YSL—and presumably any other shoe designer—would be free to sell red-soled shoes if the whole shoe is, indeed, red.

As we explained in a post back in January:

Louboutin registered the color Pantone-18 Chinese Red with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2008.

Last year, Louboutin sought an injunction against YSL to stop the competing design house from selling red-soled shoes, which Louboutin claims confuses consumers and amounts to trademark infringement.

Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York Court denied the injunction request, writing that the trademark was  “overly broad” and that Louboutin would probably not be able to show its red soles were entitled to trademark protection in court.

But in this most recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit partially reversed the district court’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

What do you think of the ruling? Should Louboutin be able to stop any and all red-soled shoes or did the Second Circuit get this one right?

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September 13th, 2012 at 6:04 am