A Manhattan judge chucked Christian Louboutin‘s request for a preliminary injunction that would prevent Yves Saint Laurent from selling red-soled shoes. So for the time being, YSL can continue to make and sell its own red-soled shoes.
In a major blow to Louboutin’s trademark red soles, Judge Victor Marrero wrote in an opinion filed Wednesday that the brand would face an uphill battle trying to prove that red soles actually deserve trademark protection — even though company was granted that trademark in 2008.
“Because in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition, the court finds that Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection, even if it has gained enough public recognition in the market to have acquired secondary meaning,” Marrero wrote.
A lawyer for Louboutin told Women’s Wear Daily that he was “disheartened,” and we would be, too. But fret not — just because the preliminary injunction was denied doesn’t mean that Louboutin has lost. It just means that until the case has been decided, YSL can keep on selling its red-soled shoes. But if Louboutin can’t prove it deserves that trademark by the time the case is over, YSL — and indeed any shoe manufacturer with some red lacquer on hand — will be able to make red soles without incident.