Yves Saint Laurent vs Christian Louboutin

Should a brand be able to patent the colour of a shoe sole?

Yves Saint Laurent’s legal team filed its response in Christian Louboutin’s red-sole trademark appeal, maintaining its stance. The now-cumbersome case is set to continue through 2012.

In April 2011, Louboutin filed a $1 million trademark infringement suit against Yves Saint Laurent, over four offending shoe designs from YSL’s Cruise 2011 Collection: the Tribute, Tribtoo, Palais, and Woodstock. The reason being that the monochromatic designs included a red sole, which was patented by Louboutin in 2008.

YSL then retorted with a counterclaim seeking a cancellation of the red-sole trademark.

In late July, the two parties went to court, carrying dozens of shoes before New York Southern District Judge Victor Marrero. After much deliberation and several playful jabs at the dispute, Marrero denied Louboutin’s request for a preliminary injunction in August. Furthermore, he suggested that the patent should not have been issued to Louboutin by the U.S. Patent Office in the first place.

Meanwhile, Louboutin’s legal team appealed the court’s ruling and even received the support of Tiffany & Co. in an attempt to build a solid case. Tiffany’s, which has patented the Tiffany blue color, filed an amicus brief supporting Louboutin, arguing that the court should rule in favour of the red sole trademark. However, despite Louboutin’s desperate attempts to maintain its patent, it appears that YSL will not budge. Its response on Tuesday only reaffirmed that this battle will continue throughout 2012.

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