By Michelle Mancino Marsh and Natasha Sardesai Grant
On August 10, 2011, the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion for
preliminary injunction brought by Christian Louboutin and his design
house ("Louboutin") in a high-profile trademark litigation against Yves
Saint Laurent America, Inc. ("YSL"). Since 2008, Louboutin has owned
United States Trademark Registration No. 3,361,597 (the "Red Sole
Registration") for the color red for use on the sole of footwear.
Louboutin's red soled shoes are coveted by women worldwide. Prior to
this lawsuit, Louboutin had not been shy about enforcing his alleged
rights in his red sole shoes, but no one had publicly challenged those
rights until YSL. This highly watched case pits French couture footwear
house against French couture fashion house, but the decision will impact
the entire fashion industry from high-end to mass market. At stake, the
freedom to use color for fashion vs. the rights of a trademark owner to
stake a claim and build a brand.
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