The Christian Louboutin v Yves Saint Laurent court case is still kicking, with YSL pushing back against allegations that it copied Louboutin’s signature red soles.
YSL’s lawyers said Louboutin didn’t invent red soles, and that his brand cannot therefore litigate against any other fashion houses using the bright accent.
‘Red outsoles are a commonly used ornamental design feature in footwear, dating as far back as the red shoes worn by King Louis XIV in the 1600s and the ruby red shoes that carried Dorothy home in The Wizard of Oz,’ YSL said in court filings, adding that it has sold shoes with red soles since the 1970s.
And the sting: ‘As an industry leader who has devoted his entire professional life to women's footwear, Mr Louboutin either knew or should have known about some or all of the dozens of footwear models that rendered his sworn statement false.’
Ouch! In a final flourish, YSL also accused Louboutin of mounting the lawsuit as part of an ‘anti-competitive campaign’ aimed at pressuring exclusive retailers to pull rivals’ shoes off the shelves.
But here’s the thing: Louboutin does possess a US trademark protecting its red soles as the company’s sole intellectual property—a trademark that Louboutin has successfully defended on other occasions.
Louboutin brought the suit against YSL last month in an attempt to halt the brand’s American operations from selling red-soled shoes in stores that stock his designs. He is seeking more than $1m in damages. If we had to bet our favourite red-soled shoes on the outcome of this case, we’d have to stick with Loub. Stay tuned