Last week brought joy for a couple of special interest groups who are not regulars in the legal news circuit. First there were the home brewers who now can create their own batches of White House Honey Brown Ale at their leisure. On the heels of that victory, Louboutin-lovin’ fashionistas were able to kick up their heels a la Dick Van Dyke. Well…sort of.
Christian Louboutin’s shoes are instantly recognizable by their red soles. (Just in case you were wondering, the red is called “Chinese Red” and it has been used by Louboutin since 1992. ) In April 2011 Louboutin saw red and took legal action when rival Yves Saint Laurent announced that it was going to be releasing a “monochrome” line of shoes. In most instances having one color encompassing the entire shoe wouldn’t be an issue, but when you have red on red, a YSL begins to seem a lot like a Louboutin (see above photo). A district judge didn’t see a problem with that and said that Louboutin couldn’t trademark its red soles in August 2011. However, on September 5, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court judge was wrong in his assessment of trademark and explained that Louboutin can trademark its red so long as the color contrasts with the rest of the shoe.
Victory, right? Not entirely. The specific contrast requirement creates a loophole that allows “monochrome” shoes to also have red soles. So, at the end of the day, those who relish throwing on their Louboutins can rest assured that their status and contrast is protected, those who prefer their shoes to be entirely one color may now have more brand options, and finally those who thought that Louboutins only refers to a lesser J Lo song can return to their regular scheduled programming.