The stakes in Christian Louboutin SA versus YSL just got higher, and both parties are going all in.
In a written decision released Wednesday, Manhattan federal judge Victor Marrero not only denied Louboutin the right to bar YSL from selling red-soled shoes from its 2011 cruise collection, but he also implied that if the case continued, he would move to find for the defendant without a full trial.
The judge wrote, “The court’s conclusion that the red-sole mark is ornamental and functional in its fashion industry market would compel it to grant partial summary judgment in favor of YSL on YSL’s counterclaims seeking cancellation of Louboutin’s mark.”
Judge Marrero decided that “awarding one participant in the designer shoe market monopoly on the color red would impermissibly hinder competition among other participants.”
Louboutin’s attorney, Harley Lewin of McCarter & English, told FN the designer, along with others in the company, is dismayed.
“We’re going to fight like hell,” he added. “[I think] the judge is wrong on the law as well as the facts. He has created a rule of breathtaking scope and one [that] would be subject to reversal if it’s taken up. [Even in] consumer foods, packaging and color serve to distinguish one product from another. It’s frankly an insult to a host of other industries to say fashion industry needs to be more creative with color.”
Judge Marrero has ordered that both parties meet next Wednesday afternoon, at which Louboutin must “show cause why the record of this action as it now exists should not be converted into a motion for partial summary judgment canceling Louboutin’s trademark.”