According to a report in the New York Times a court has refused to grant a preliminary injunction against the Yves St. Laurent company. The preliminary injunction was requested by the Christian Louboutin company, which alleged copyright infringement for the use of red soles on shoes. The decision clears the way not just for YSL to continue producing shoes with a similar red sole, but also appears to grant permission to other shoe manufacturers that might want to use red soles.
“Because in the fashion industry color 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 protection in the market to have secondary meaning,” the court ruled.
While the court acknowledged Louboutin’s originality, for Louboutin to copyright a shade of red would be like Monet copyrighting a shade of blue….
Or QVC wanting to copyright the letter “Q” ……
Or Fox News wanting to copyright the phrase “fair and balanced”….
Granted Louboutin’s red soles are original, and there is probably a proprietary process for their manufacture, let alone a uniqueness of color shade. This will always make Louboutin’s red soles unique.
Frankly, I’d *love* to see other shades on the soles of shoes. I’m particularly fond of pink (as they are using on some ShoeDazzle shoes, and I think [pink shows up on Paris Hilton’s shoe line) but from what I understand, with many lower-price shoes, the color is easily scuffed off. Too bad. Colored soles certainly make a statement.