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Christian Louboutin won a court appeal against rival Yves Saint Laurent over use of the red sole that graces many of Louboutin’s designs. However, it was a limited victory, with lawyers for both sides claiming victory.
The U.S. Appeals Court in Manhattan found that Louboutin could trademark the lacquered red sole design if it was paired with a different colored top. However, the judges found that Louboutin could not have exclusive rights to the color red, so other design houses can create all-red shoes, reports Businessweek.
According to Reuters, Louboutin first filed the lawsuit against YSL in April 2011. Then in August 2011, a federal judge dismissed Louboutin’s injunction.
In its opinion Wednesday, the appeals court said that the red sole with a different colored top is “an identifying mark firmly associated with” Louboutin, but “The district court’s conclusion that a single color can never serve as a trademark in the fashion industry was based on an incorrect understanding of the doctrine of aesthetic functionality.”
Lawyers for both sides issued statements claiming victory.
Louboutin “will be able to protect a life's work as the same is embodied in the red sole found on his women's luxury shoes,” lawyer Harley Lewin told Reuters.
YSL lawyer David Bernstein told Businessweek, “We are happy to have achieved a victory in defending against Louboutin’s lawsuit...YSL will continue to produce monochromatic shoes with red outsoles, as it has done since the 1970s.”