Presentation on theme: "Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent. In April 2011, footwear designer Christian Louboutin filed a suit against luxury design house Yves Saint Laurent,"— Presentation transcript:
In April 2011, footwear designer Christian Louboutin filed a suit against luxury design house Yves Saint Laurent, a subsidiary of the Gucci Group, over Louboutins trademark of red-soled high heel shoes. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Louboutin a registered trademark for the red soles in 2008 and are seeking an injunction against Yves Saint Laurent, as well as, payment for damages totaling $1 million. Case Overview
Louboutins Arguments: One of Louboutins lawyers, Harley Lewin stated that the red sole does warrant trademark protection as, "This is the lifeblood of this company, the red sole. When people see the red sole on the street they think Louboutin." Yves Saint Laurent's Arguments: YSL claims the reasons it seeks to use red on its outsoles includes to reference traditional Chinese lacquer ware, to create a monochromatic shoe, and to create a cohesive look consisting of color- coordinating shoes and garments. YSL also claims that the red sole mark does not warrant trademark protection. YSL claims that Louboutin has no monopoly over the red-colored shoe soles and that similar applications were commonplace before Louboutins use such as the ruby red shoes that carried Dorothy home in the Wizard of Oz. The Arguments
Central Dispute The central issue in this case is whether or not a designer should be able to trademark a color. In trademark law, you cannot protect something that is functional – Question arises, does the red sole serve a purpose in fashion?
Trademark Verbal depiction from USPTO – "The color(s) red is/are claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a lacquered red sole on footwear. The dotted lines are not part of the mark but are intended only to show placement of the mark."
Court Decision In August 2011, the court denied the injunction to prohibit Yves Saint Laurent from selling the offending shoes – Judge Victor Marrero stated that "Louboutins claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers could do, while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette." After the court decision, Christian Louboutin filed an appeal. The case is currently being tried at the U.S. Court of Appeals.
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