Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What will they sue next?

Louboutin Wins Round in Red-Sole Shoe Appeal
Chad Bray
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent in April 2011 after its rival announced plans to introduce a "monochrome' line of women's shoes that would have the same colour throughout. (Lindsay Homes/The Wall Street Journal)

French shoemaker Christian Louboutin SA is entitled to trademark protection for its iconic red soles on the bottoms of women's high heels, except when the shoe itself is red, a federal appeals court ruled.
Louboutin, which has painted the soles of its women's high heels a shade it calls "China Red" since 1992, sued Yves Saint Laurent in April 2011 after its rival announced plans to introduce a "monochrome" line of women's shoes that would have the same color throughout.

In August 2011, a federal judge in New York rejected Louboutin's efforts to prevent Yves Saint Laurent from selling a red shoe with a red sole in its monochrome line.

However, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday found that Louboutin had the right to trademark its red soles, as long as they contrasted with the rest of the shoe. It partially reversed the lower court's order and sent the case back to the district court for more proceedings.

A lawyer for Yves Saint Laurent didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.

Write to Chad Bray at chad.bray@wsj.com

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