The Fashion Law Exclusive - It's been a little while since we've heard any legal news on footwear designer to the stars, Christian Louboutin, following the infamous court battle with Yves St. Laurent, but the wait is over. Paris-based Christian Louboutin S.A.S. filed suit last week in the Southern District of New York against Alba Footwear, Easy Pickins, Inc., and Alan H. Warshak, stemming from the sale of red-soled shoes. Harley Lewin, Louboutin's counsel from the YSL case, filed a trademark infringement suit on behalf of the footwear designer, alleging that the defendants manufactured and sold counterfeit versions of Louboutin's products bearing its red sole trademark. This is one of the first lawsuits following the September 2012 ruling that Louboutin's red sole is, in fact, a valid trademark. Louboutin is asking for $2 million in damages, injunctive relief and additional damages.
It is worth briefly mentioning that this is a trademark infringement case, as opposed to a copyright infringement case. While Alba's styles, one of which is oh-so-interestingly named "Christian," are near replicas of Louboutin styles, that similarity is not at issue. Because the overall design/appearance of Louboutin's shoes is not protected by copyright law (or any other law) in the U.S., the designer's lawsuit is exclusively limited to the replication of the red sole. As such, if Alba had recreated the Louboutin Lady Spiked Leopard-Print Pump (pictured, above right) but without the red sole, this would be perfectly legal.