Louboutin sues over confusing shoes


A luxury fashion house’s red-soled women’s shoes are “virtually identical” to those sold by Christian Louboutin’s chain of boutique shoe stores, the shoe designer has claimed.

Louboutin filed the trademark infringement complaint against Yves Saint Laurent, a subsidiary of the Gucci Group, in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York on April 7.

The complaint said: “[Yves Saint Laurent’s] use of red footwear outsoles that are virtually identical to [Louboutin’s] red sole mark is likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public as to the origin of the Infringing Footwear...”

The shoe designer released the world’s first lacquered red footwear outsole in 1992, according to the complaint, and the red-soled shoes are now sold through US department stores, Christian Louboutin boutiques and online stores.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded a trademark for the red sole to Louboutin in 2008.

The USPTO deemed the red sole distinctive enough to receive trademark protection because it had received considerable media attention and consumers associated it with the Louboutin brand, according to the complaint.

The complaint added: “[Louboutin’s] use of the red sole mark on women’s designer luxury footwear has been substantially exclusive in the United States for the almost two decades commencing in 1992 to date.”

Louboutin is seeking an injunction that will prevent Yves Saint Laurent from using its red sole trademark and $1 million in damages.

This article was first published on 01 June 2011 in World IP Review

Louboutin, red soles, shoes, USPTO

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