A trademark dispute has broken out between two rival fashion houses over the sale of red-soled shoes.

Christian Louboutin SA had asked the federal courts to offer protection to its products after Yves Saint Laurent launched similar footwear with colored soles.

The former secured a trademark for red-soled shoes in 2008 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; however, Manhattan judge Victor Marrero refused to uphold Louboutin’s complaint.

“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,” he stated.

Christian Louboutin SA has so far failed to respond to the judgement.

However, a leading lawyer said she hoped the fashion house chooses to appeal the decision.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Susan Scafidi, academic director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School, said the dispute is “the most interesting case in fashion intellectual property that has come down in the past couple of years.”

Red-soled shoes at centre of trademark dispute
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