Louboutin's trademark is valid and the luxury footwear designer has "won" his suit against fellow French design house, Yves St. Laurent. We have been waiting for months for New York's Second Circuit court to release its decision as to whether Louboutin's red soles are worthy of trademark protection. Louboutin was awarded the trademark in the U.S. in 2008, and subsequently filed a complaint against YSL in April 2011 for its Tribute sandals and others bearing a red sole. In August 2011, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero denied Louboutin's request to stop the sale of the YSL shoes and questioned the validity of the trademark, writing, "Louboutin's claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers do, while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette."
Louboutin appealed to the Second Circuit to reverse Judge Marrero's decision. While Louboutin won its appeal in terms of the validity of its trademark, such protection does not extend to all-red shoes. Further, the Second Circuit court affirmed the lower court’s denial of the injunction against Yves Saint Laurent, which would prevent YSL from selling the all-red shoes in question, and sent the case back to the trial judge. So, while Louboutin may not have gotten the right to all-red shoes with red soles, including YSL's all-over-red pumps, its trademark was not deemed invalid.
When we spoke with industry expert, Barbara Kolsun, who is the General Counsel and Executive Vice President for luxury footwear designer, Stuart Weitzman, she said she is not surprised by the court's ruling. She told The Fashion Law, "This is the decision I expected."