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Louboutin launches second lawsuit for trademark infringement

French footwear designer Christian Louboutin is suing a second footwear company for the use of red soles on its shoes, less than a week after the designer filed a lawsuit against Yves Saint Laurent for alleged trademark infringement.

Louboutin is taking action against the French operation of Brazilian footwear and accessories label Carmen Steffens for infringing the trademark on its red soles.

Carmen Steffens has 160 stores worldwide and plans to open 25 new stores in France by 2015. The action by Louboutin relates to Carmen Steffens France and no other markets.

Louboutin introduced his trademark red soles in 1992 and they have since been featured on all the label’s luxury footwear. The US Patent and Trademark Office awarded Louboutin a trademark for the red sole in 2008.

Responding to the allegations, Carmen Steffens France said it had been putting red soles on its shoes since 1996, long before Louboutin’s red soles were registered as a trademark in the US.

Carmen Steffens international development director Gabriel Spaniol said: “We are ready to provide unassailable evidence that we have been using coloured soles, especially red, before Mr Christian Louboutin popularised his.”

Last week, Louboutin launched a lawsuit against Yves Saint Laurent in New York over the same issue, claiming the French label is selling footwear from its collections called ‘Tribute’, ‘Woodstock’ and ‘Palais’ with red soles which are “virtually identical” to his own.

A lawsuit filed at court in Manhattan is seeking a court injunction against the sale of the Yves Saint Laurent footwear in the US and claims damages of at least $1m (£611,000).

Elsewhere it is reported that Christian Louboutin has partnered with Hong Kong-based Pedder Group, distributor of high-end footwear in Asia, to open standalone stores in Beijing and Shanghai later this year.

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