Every little fashionista knows that the sight of a red sole means one thing and one thing only: Christian Louboutin made these shoes. The designer’s trademark red soles are instantly recognizable, and at this point they’re almost as much of a logo as they are a trademark. So it’s understandable that the brand has gotten its lawyers involved with the folks at Yves Saint Laurent, who made a red suede shoe with a red sole this spring.
Louboutin filed a trademark lawsuit against Saint Laurent in New York this week, claiming that the YSL shoes essentially copy Loubs’ most successful bit of branding. The concern is that people who see the YSL shoes on the street — or worse, in stores — might mistake them for Louboutins. (Take a look at the photo in this post. It’s the shoe from YSL, but we thought it was a Loub the first time we saw it.) The Daily Telegraph explains:
Court papers state ‘The defendants use of red footwear outsoles that are virtually identical to plaintiff’s Red Sole Mark is likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public as to the origin of the infringing footwear.’
YSL also made blue shoes with blue soles and green shoes with green soles this season. Now, that doesn’t make a red-soled shoe any less odious for an intellectual property court, but it does sort of make the commercial argument that no one can really own a color and tell other people where they can and cannot put it.
But Louboutin has built a well-shod empire from doing just that. And if a judge deems that YSL is eating away at that empire with its red soles, it’ll cement forever that red soles are the sole right and property of Christian Louboutin.
Christian Louboutin sees red [The Daily Telegraph]