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Trademark Law

Lawyer for YSL Points to Oz’s Dorothy in Red-Soled Shoe Case; Louboutin Injunction Unresolved

Posted Jul 25, 2011 5:44 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Can designer Christian Louboutin trademark a color?

That essentially is the question in a hard-fought federal case over competing red-soled women's shoes made by Louboutin and Yves St. Laurent. Argued Friday in the Southern District of New York, it hasn't yet resulted in a ruling on the preliminary injunction sought by Louboutin, according to StyleCaster and the Cut page of New York magazine.

Defense attorney David Bernstein of Debevoise & Plimpton points to the ruby-soled slippers worn by Dorothy decades ago in the Wizard of Oz as an example that the concept of red shoes isn't new.

However, trademarking a color isn't unheard-of, as Owens-Corning has proven concerning its well-known trademark on pink insulation.

And Harley Lewin of McCarter & English, who represents Louboutin, says it isn't simply the color red but one particular shade of red in a signature design that YSL is copying, reports the Fashion page of the Telegraph.

“This is the lifeblood of this company, the red sole,”Lewin told Bloomberg after the Manhattan federal court hearing. “When people see the red sole on the street they think Louboutin.”

A ruling is expected soon.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: "Some Designers Say Their Work Deserves Copyright Protection; Others Say It Would Harm the Industry"

ABAJournal.com: "Louboutin Hopes to Stomp Out Rival’s Red-Soled Shoes with Trademark Suit"

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