Victory has been claimed…by both parties? The long running suit between two fashion greats has finally come to a conclusion, but not quite an end. Judge Cabranes (the 2nd judge on the case) ruled, “The contrast between the sole and the upper that causes the sole to ‘pop’ and to distinguish its creator [Louboutin].”The judge, Cabranes, which has taken over the case, has ruled in favor or both companies. He has agreed that YSL can only produce and distribute shoes with red soled bottoms if the whole shoe is red, and Louboutin gets to keep his trademark of having a red soled bottom when the rest of the shoe is of a different color, allowing him to keep that “pop.” It is that “pop” that distinguishes him from other designers, such as YSL. Louboutin’s lawyer, Harley Lewin said, “The brand is tremendously pleased, [allowing Louboutin] to protect a life’s work as the same is embodied in the red sole found on his women’s luxury shoes.”
The first judge to take the case didn’t understand or really agree with Louboutin being granted a copyright/trademark in 2008 for his red soles. This new judge understood that factor – these infamous red soles carry a huge dynamic in fashion, street style, and luxury – and in fact Louboutin’s lawyers did some digging and found that a judge did indeed grant a company full trademark rights over a certain color green. This finding really helped Louboutin’s case, and potentially a case that could ensue for Tiffany & Co. – Thankfully, Tiffany & Co. should have nothing to worry about. Louboutin’s original suit was based on this: “Defendants’ use of red footwear outsoles that are virtually identical to plaintiffs’ Red Sole Mark is likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public.” The second judge agreed with Louboutin here; this is why some may say he ruled in Louboutin’s favor. However, looking at things from YSl’s standpoint; they were being sued over their use of red soles on red shoes. That judge did in fact rule that YSL can use red soles only on red shoes. Therefore, both parties have accomplished their goal. YSL’s lawyer, H. Bernstein of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, presented this statement:”The Court has conclusively ruled that YSL’s monochromatic red shoes do not infringe any trademark rights of Louboutin, which guarantees that YSL can continue to make monochromatic shoes in a wide variety of colors, including red. YSL will continue to produce monochromatic shoes with red outsoles, as it has done since the 1970s.”
I have a feeling this is not the last we will hear from Louboutin on this subject. But, major fashion law headway has been made!