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Court refuses Louboutin injunction against YSL

Shoe designer Christian Louboutin’s appeal to temporarily ban the sale of luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent’s red-soled shoes has been refused, according to reports.

Louboutin had been seeking an injunction from a US federal judge to pause the sale of red soled YSL shoes from its 2011 cruise collection until the ongoing trademark dispute over his signature red heels was resolved.

A New York based Southern District judge Victor Marrero has denied the motion:  “Because in the fashion industry colour serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition, the court finds that Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection, even if it has gained enough public recognition in the market to have acquired secondary meaning,” said the judge in his ruling.

Louboutin’s attorney Harley Lewin, of McCarter & English told reporters they were “disheartened” by the decision.

Louboutin first filed the lawsuit in April. The designer claimed that red soled shoes from YSL’s range violated his signature red-soled designs which by now are iconic and synonymous with the Louboutin brand. Louboutin also argued that to allow YSL red soles would prompt a tidal wave of other imitators and damage his brand. Louboutin obtained the trademark for his trademark soles in 2008.

YSL has argued that a trademark should never have been issued and is impossible to regulate given the array of red shades in existence. It has also argued that red soles have been used on YSL shoes since the 1970s and are not directly linked to the Louboutin brand.

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