New York, NY, United States (AHN) – Iconic French shoemaker Christian Louboutin was in court in Manhattan Tuesday, in an appeal from an earlier ruling, to state its case that it should exclusively own the rights to use the color it calls ‘China Red,” to coat the bottoms of its coveted, expensive, and popular high-heeled shoes seen frequently on celebrities and fashionistas.
Henry Lewin, a lawyer for Christian Louboutin, said in defense of his client, “Louboutin turned a pedestrian item into a thing of beauty. We didn’t claim anything but this trademark as registered.”
A lawyer for Yves Saint Laurent countered, “Artists…need the full palette of colors available. In order to compete fairly, we need red.”
Last August. Manhattan Federal Judge Victor Marreo denied Louboutin’s request to stop Yves Saint Laurent, an equally iconic French fashion house, from selling a line of shoes whose tops, as well as bottoms, are red.
Louboutin was granted trademark registration to use the color red for its shoe soles in 2008. But in his opinion, in denying Louboutin’s injunction, Marreo strongly suggested that the registration was granted in error.
Trademarks can be given for the color on products, but Judge Marrero questioned whether a color could ever be trademarked for use in fashion where “color performs a creative function; it aims to please or be useful, not to identify and advertise a commercial source.”
Louboutin’s lawyers maintain that Judge Marreo mistakenly interpreted the trademark to all shades of red, instead of Louboutin’s trademark hue. YSL’s lawyers argued that the company often makes monochrome shoes and it should not be barred from making all-red ones.
The judges in court Tuesday criticized Marreo’s opinion, much to the benefit and delight of Louboutin.
A decision has not been announced, but it appears that the original opinion may very well be overturned, paving the way for a proper trail.
If that is the case, YSL may opt to settle, instead of kicking up its heels at a trial.