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In Case You Hadn’t Heard….The Last Step in the Shoe Wars

by Rebekah Smith

So not the most clever blog title ever, but for those of you who have been following my posts on the Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) v. Christian Louboutin battle of the soles (as in shoe soles, not souls like immortal souls), there is finally an end to the controversy.  Quite interestingly, both sides are declaring a “W” and hanging out their victory flags.  The ruling, which came down from the U.S Appeals Court in Manhattan, overturned a lower court decisions by deciding that Louboutin shoes that have red soles combined with a different color top are protected under the trademark but shoes that are entirely monochromatic red cannot be protected. 

Got that? 

Black or any other color shoes + red soles = protected BUT
Red shoes + red soles = not protected (sorry, I’m accountant, we think in formulas!)   

If you remember, the case originally started with an injunction motion by Louboutin.  The Appeals judge did not grant the injunction and sent it back to the trial judge. 

YSL declared it a victory because they did not view the ruling as an order to stop making red soled shoes but instead a confirmation that what they are doing now (red shoes + red soles) is fine.

Louboutin felt the ruling was a win because the court’s ruling allows Louboutin’s work to continue to be “embodied in the red sole”.

In an unusual outcome for litigation, it truly is a win-win.  For more details, click here.

What do you think of the ruling?

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