The latest ruling in the long-running Christian Louboutin vs YSL case could be a landmark moment for trademarking in the fashion industry with a judge ruling that colour can in fact be trademarked.
It was announced this week that luxury footwear brand Christian Louboutin had won an appeal in support of its right to retain trade mark protection for the distinctive red soles of its shoe. The trademark will stand when the upper is contrasting, however totally red shoes will not be.
I most definitely agree with the ruling. When you see a flash of scarlet on the sole of a shoe you presume it is a Louboutin so it is only right that this is credited as their trademark.
Fiona McBride, partner and trade mark attorney at law firm Withers & Rogers, told Drapers that brands should look at the benefits this type of protection can provide.
She added: “The instant association of colour with a brand is a lucrative opportunity which adds value to the brand. However, achieving this recognition and being able to protect the colour through trade mark registration is not easy.”
It may have been a long road for Louboutin, but now that its red soles can be trademarked it paves the way for other brands to follow suit and monopolise the use of colour.
What could we see next? Burberry trademarking camel coloured trenchcoats or perhaps Levi trademarking blue for its denim? It’s not beyond the realms of possibility but I think that would be a step too far.
Victoria Gallagher, news reporter