Friday, September 7, 2012
French shoemaker, Christian Louboutin won a limited victory over Yves Saint Laurent when an appeals court granted trademark protection for some of the companies footwear with lacquered red bottoms. A three judge panel at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned a lower-court decision to allow Louboutin shoes with red soles combined with a different colored top protected under trademark. Now Louboutin can theoretically prevent another designer from putting out a black stiletto with a red sole. Louboutin's request to prevent Yves Saint Laurent from selling red-soled shoes was initially dismissed by a Manhattan federal judge last year. The injunction was later rejected by the appeals court. The new court of appeal’s decision is based on the reasoning used in a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co. and on the Lanham Act, which governs trademark law. The Qualitex decision left open the possibility of defending a single color trademark on the grounds that it is used under certain circumstances and is uniquely associated with a particular brand.