(Photo : Sifu Renka, flickr.com)
The New York Federal Court of Appeals voted unanimously today to uphold Christian Louboutin's trademark on red-soled high heels, much to the chagrin of rival shoe designer Yves Saint Laurent (YSL).
The case began with a lawsuit in April 2011 when Christian Louboutin sued YSL for $1 million in damages in response to reports that YSL had planned to design a red shoe with a similarly red sole.
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The lawsuit stated, "Defendants' use of red footwear outsoles that are virtually identical to Plaintiffs' Red Sole Mark is likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public," The Huffington Post reports.
Christian Louboutin has held the red sole trademark officially since 2008. An August 2011 ruling on the lawsuit against YSL called the trademark "overly broad" and the sitting judge on the case sought to cancel the trademark entirely. Christian Louboutin appealed the court's ruling, insisting that the trademark was indeed legitimate. Today's ruling backs up the Christian Louboutin claim.
However, the appeals court did rule that the trademark ban does not apply to shoes with heels that are monochromatic. The court said that a rival company creating an all-red shoe with matching red heel is well within its rights to design and product said product. Since the original lawsuit against YSL was indeed over a red-soled red heel, the case is being returned to lower courts for review.
The New York Post reports that Christian Louboutin lawyer Harley Lewin announced today that the firm was "enormously pleased" that the verdict deemed its trademark "valid and enforceable."
Christian Louboutin shoes are sold at high-end shops around the world with an average price tag of approximately $1,000. They are highly coveted by individuals in the fashion world, Hollywood and the upper realms of high society.