The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that famed shoemaker Louboutin is entitled to trademark protection for the distinctive red soles of its pricey heels — but that doesn’t stomp out YSL’s line of all-red pumps.
Louboutin had sued its fellow French designer in April 2011, after YSL announced plans to launch a “monochrome” line of red heels.
In August, Manhattan federal court judge Victor Marrero squashed Louboutin’s bid to stop YSL’s new heels from hitting the market. And in an even bigger blow to the brand, Marrero challenged Louboutin’s trademarked red-bottoms, saying the designer shouldn’t have a “monopoly on the color red.”
Louboutin, whose shoes can sell for more than $1,000, has been painting his soles a shade called “Chinese red” for nearly 20 years and had the look trademarked in 2008.
On Wednesday, the panel of three appellate judges disagreed with Marrero, ruling that the iconic color is a "distinctive symbol that identifies the Louboutin brand."
But it's not all good news for Louboutin — that pop of red is only trademark protected when the rest of the shoe is a different color.
So YSL, and any other shoe designer, can create a line of all-red shoes.
But as many celebrity fans would say, there's only one Louboutin.