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Christian Louboutin Wins Court Battle to Uphold His Red Sole Shoes Trademark

The French luxury shoe designer and YSL are both happy with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimous decision.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Christian Louboutin is probably kicking up his heels with pure joy today.

On Wednesday, a Manhattan appeals court unanimously upheld his trademark on his distinctive and iconic red-soled women’s shoes.

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A three judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a past ruling that renounced the French shoe designer’s claim that his red soled stilettos were protected by a copyright.

The court’s previous decision gave YSL a foot hold for counterclaims that would cancel Louboutin’s 2008 trademark and secure damages for alleged interference with its shoe business.

YSL contended it was making all one-color shoes before Louboutin began painting the soles of his $1,000 and up footwear red-soled designs, frequently worn by celebrity fans such as Beyonce, Scarlett Johansson, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The ruling as it now stands gives Louboutin a copyright for red soles that are different from the color of the top of the shoe. Which means YSL can keep selling its solid red heels. And everyone seems very happy with the decision.

Louboutin lawyer Harley Lewin said the designer’s firm was “enormously pleased” that its trademark was found “valid and enforceable," adding that Louboutin "will be able to protect a life's work as the same is embodied in the red sole found on his women's luxury shoes."

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But YSL lawyer David Bernstein was also happy and declared the outcome a “total victory,” noting, "The Court has conclusively ruled that YSL's monochromatic red shoes do not infringe any trademark rights of Louboutin, which guarantees that YSL can continue to make monochromatic shoes in a wide variety of colors, including red."

Bernstein's statement said that YSL would likely drop its efforts to cancel Louboutin’s trademark “as long as we have no threat from them."

So basically, everyone's happy. 

What do you think?

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