This week marked the end to year another lawsuit between two heavy hitters, this time around between two fashion giants. You might recall that back in April, shoe designer Christian Louboutin took to court both Yves Saint Laurent and Brazilian label Carmen Steffens over their selling of shoes that featured red soles. Given that Louboutin’s major claim to fame were his own red soled product, which he had patented in the late 1990s, his company wanted singular ownership. By the end of last month, though it was still anyone’s guess how the case would pan out, the good money was against Louboutin winning. And so he has not. This week, Federal District Court Judge Victor Marrero denied the designer’s injunction against YSL, stating that all though he owned the aforementioned patent, the request to block all merchandise based on a color was simply too broad to accept. This not only clears YSL from having to continue fighting and possibly scrapping entire product runs, but assumes that other brands, like Carmen Steffens, will be safe as well. Here’s a bit from the Judge’s ruling (which is well worth reading in full if you’d like a quick, interesting crash course in fashion intellectual property law):
In sum, the Court cannot conceive that the Lanham Act could serve as the source of the broad spectrum of absurdities that would follow recognition of a trademark for the use of a single color for fashion items. Because the Court has serious doubts that Louboutin possesses a protectable mark, the Court finds that Louboutin cannot establish a likelihood that it will succeed on its claims for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act. Thus there is no warrant to grant injunctive relief on those claims.