Seeing Red: Louboutin’s YSL Lawsuit Dismissed

It took 18 months and more courtroom volleyball than an episode of “Law & Order,” but the red-hot legal battle between Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent won’t carry into 2013. On Thursday, a Manhattan federal court dismissed a suit launched by Louboutin, claiming that YSL had copied the brand’s famous red soles, WWD reports.

It all started with YSL’s all-red Resort 2011 pumps. Louboutin objected to the shoes’ soles, and in April 2011 sued YSL for $1 million in damages for trademark infringement, based on a 2008 ruling that red undersides were symbolic of Louboutin. YSL, who has used red soles since the ’70s, went on to counter, and eventually judges ruled that Louboutin’s trademark did not cover monochrome shoes.

We’re all for designers protecting their ideas in the age of the counterfeit — and we won’t deny that Louboutin’s red soles are a cultural icon with so much cachet that even singer Adele paid homage to the brand with her black-over-red Grammy manicure — but we have to side with the judges on this one. After all, as YSL’s lawyer argued, “No designer should be allowed to monopolize a primary color for fashion.”

–Heather Corcoran

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