Red Soles. To Be Or Not To Be A Louboutin Exclusive

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You may have heard that a while back, Christian Louboutin has started a war against Yves Saint Laurent on the premises of exclusive-ing the red soles shoes. While Louboutin claims that YLS’ recent red soles shoes are a law infringement situation (with Louboutin having trademarked his red soles shoes), the Yves Saint Laurent people say different.

Effectively, a federal judge from New York wisely ruled against the Louboutin raised lawsuit saying that a color cannot be monopolized by a single designer. And allowing Louboutin to trademark red would be truly unfair for fashion and for the consumer. However, the Louboutin people will carry on the fight, appealing the judge’s decision. Time will tell…

YSL Red Soles Louboutin Red Soles Lawsuit


#1 mdinah on 08.15.11 at 11:02 am

its an unfair decision. he owns the trademark of red soles. and it doesn’t matter if the red sole had been done before.
From the moment the petition for the trademark was accepted its his right to fight for its protection.

#2 Allison on 08.17.11 at 2:13 am

I agree with mdinah. It’s not an issue of trademarking a colour, rather it’s use on a sole.
As a lawyer myself I’m thinking Mr Louboutin would be more likely to succeed against a cheap manufacturer as it would dilute the exclusivity and the public perception that a red sole denotes a high-end item.
Personally I love my Louboutins and he’s got my support!

#3 kpriss on 08.18.11 at 7:54 am

(just out of curiosity – why do you love your Louboutins, Allison? Because everyone knows they’re Louboutins or they’re really worth the while and they’re as comfy as walking on clouds?)

mdinah, from what I understood, Louboutin has indeed trademarked the red sole. And it’s perfectly understandable. However, what they’re looking for this time is trademarking that particular red hue as the Louboutin Red (like the Tiffany blue?)

Either way, it would appear that even if they didn’t fill for the trademark ownership, YSL is manufacturing and selling red soled shoes since the seventies…

#4 mdinah on 08.18.11 at 9:01 am

Oh well, first things first: what kind of world are we living where the soles of your shoes will matter in some way…plain absurd.
Now,YSL may be doing it since the 70ies but given the trademark was accepted, legally they should stop selling them.
I hadn’t heard about the trademark for the specific hue of red anyway.
My mom says her Louboutins are beautiful but definitely the most unconfortable shoes she ever owned.But she doesnt stop wearing them…
fetish kind of thing, me thinks…

#5 kpriss on 08.18.11 at 9:03 am

(I’m a complete ignorant when it comes to legal details – so if they owned the trademark, YSL should not have sold red soled shoes?)

Oh, wow! So they’re not comfy after all? Legend falling apart (in my eyes, at least)! I so treasure my comfort, I wouldn’t trade it for a gazillion Loubs!

#6 ajginger on 08.18.11 at 9:19 am

Kpriss, I am with you. It’s obvious they are not comfortable and I fail to understand why women love to wear them. And why ruin our feet or back because of a hype? Because a hype it is. First people where all over Blahnik and Choo and now Louboutin. I don’t even like them. I find it all much ado about nothing. Legal or not.

I like the YSL shoe more. But were can I walk on these shoes? I don’t have a personal driver. I walk a lot too. The old city streets where I live is certainly not nice shoes friendly.

#7 kpriss on 08.18.11 at 9:23 am

I liked the blue soled YSL! The tribute booties or something like that? few seasons back they were highly fashionable! Regardless of the label and the sole color, I only care about comfort! (what’s the comfiest shoes you ever had?)

#8 ajginger on 08.18.11 at 9:41 am

Oh, the Birckies and in the early late ’80’s/’90’s (I still own a few pair) we had these cute Portuguese shoes with good foot bed and cotton at the front. I believe I have hailed them often here? Argh, I can’t read the brand name and such no more; that’s how often I have wore them and they are still in good shape. Price at the time? Fl.15,00 or even less?
But I love high heeled shoes/boots with a good shape. I have walked all summer, that is on summer days, on great very high wedges that walk like slippers and look great too. My hairdresser even confessed she was jealous at them. She tried to find them too. Could wear them barefoot but also with tights. I love to wear heels but I am not masochist and there are great heels to find :)

#9 ajginger on 08.18.11 at 9:50 am

Sorry! forgot I liked the blue soled YSL shoes too. Nobody would have cared if they did a pair green soled shoes right? To me it’s only a luxury problem with no importance at all. Why do people bother when they are so familiar with these brands and shoes: they recognize them immediately???????

Or did Louboutin lost a lot on the stock markets due to the YSL shoes?

#10 kpriss on 08.18.11 at 9:55 am

Talking about Birkies (I digress, sorry!) – I stumbled across a pair of vintage Birkenstock wooden platforms? They look unbelievable and I bet they were as comfy as you normally get with a Birkenstock! I’ll look for them and try to build an article around? It would be so amazing if they’d redo the design!

As for the YSL thing – I’m no specialist, but I think the sales were indeed affected as the YSL shoes were truly coveted for the last seasons…

#11 mdinah on 08.18.11 at 10:03 am

ginger: its not a NOW thing. Louboutin is in the market since mid 90ies, much before J Choo, but the red sole is a more recent thing.
He still didn’t lose(he doesn’t trade in the stock market tough, its a private business), but if everybody start to make red soles , he will.
kpriss: yes, the trademark gives him exclusivity to use it. its like a logo.about confy: well, he makes flats as well.

#12 ajginger on 08.18.11 at 12:36 pm

Kpriss: I have known someone who used to work on such old Birckies as a bartender. Everybody laughed at him but he did not care and always said: “Whatever, I like to play football (soccer) in a decent way!” :)

mdinah: I know all that.
I remember our Dutch shoe designer Jan Jansen got to court twice to sue as well Armani as Kors over plagiarism. In my humble view: he had a stronger point. They literally copied JJ’s designs. This is different in my eyes but who am I? So well, let them fight it does not attach my life after all….

#13 kpriss on 08.18.11 at 1:29 pm

@mdinah – oh, I found out over the years that not all flats are alike ;) just as not all heels are similarly comfortable. Maybe shoes made to measure would be a solution?

#14 ajginger on 08.18.11 at 3:50 pm

Kpriss and mdinah: I apologise to interfere. I agree about the fitting and comfort of shoes! Some flat shoes make my calves and then my back hurt. I also feel that difference with sneakers!
For shoes/boots whether they have a flat, a short heel or a high heel. I feel it immediately when I put them then take only a few steps. I guess you are right: shoes made to the measure are probably the best then :)

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