The French court of appeals ruled late last week in Christian Louboutin’s case against Spanish fast-fashion retailer, Zara. Paris-based Louboutin, which has been aggressively policing unauthorized uses of its trademark red sole in recent years (most notably filing suit against Yves Saint Laurent in a New York federal court in April 2011), filed a trademark suit against Zara. The Cour de Cassation upheld the lower court’s June 2011 ruling that Louboutin’s trademark registration was too vague to warrant a win for the footwear brand, as it lacked a specific Pantone color reference for the “red” soles and further, that there is no proven risk of consumer confusion between the two brands and their shoes.
With the foregoing in mind, the court sided with Zara, and ordered Louboutin to pay the fast fashion brand’s $3,600 legal fees. On the heels of the court’s decision, a representative for Louboutin released a statement, saying, “Much of the discussion either implies or states that through this ruling we have lost our rights to our world famous Red Sole Trademark. We would like to clarify that what has been disputed and canceled is only one French registration of said Red sole Trademark. Christian Louboutin continues to own valid and enforceable trademark rights in its Red Sole Trademark, including in France itself as well as throughout the world.”
The rep continued on to note that to date, “A number of court decisions have recognised the strong association between the Christian Louboutin brand and the red sole trademark, including in France. Christian Louboutin will continue to protect and enforce its rights to its Red Sole Trademark, which has been its iconic signature for the past 20 years. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who continually show support to our brand.”