Fashion giants Christian Louboutin and YSL have been battling for over a year on who should rightfully have trademark over red lacquered outsoles. A US court has just recently ruled that French shoemaker Christain Louboutin can trademark his famous red soles, reversing a ruling that would have allowed rival Yves Saint Laurent to paint its outsoles red.
Last year, a federal judge ruled that Louboutin, widely recognized for the use of red soles, could not stop competition from doing the same thing.
But the Second Circuit US Court of Appeals overturned this, saying: “We reverse in part the order of the District Court insofar as it purported to deny trademark protection to Louboutin’s use of contrasting red lacquered outsoles.”
“We conclude that the trademark, as thus modified, is entitled to trademark protection,” the ruling said.
Wednesday’s ruling does leave one bit of wiggle room for YSL and those with an urge to paint their soles — it’s allowed as long as the whole shoe is red.
Louboutin has marketed shoes with red outsoles since 1992 and he registered the look as a trademark in the United States in 2008.
Louboutin’s glam footwear was featured on the consumer-worshipping television series “Sex and the City” and sells about 240,000 pairs each year in the United States alone, with revenues of about $135 million.
A pair costs between $700 and $1000, with the Lady Peep Geek Embroidered Pump, complete with red-lacquered under soles, listed at $1,695 in the Neiman Marcus department store.