Louboutin claims New York retailer infringed red sole trade mark
Shoemaker Christian Louboutin is once again suing for trade mark infringement over his red-soled shoe, less than nine months after his infamous suit against Yves Saint Laurent was decided
On Friday, the French designer filed a complaint with the District Court for the Southern District of New York against Alba Footwear and unidentified customers of the US retailer.
The complaint included sample photographs of two pairs of Alba shoes that, while clearly bearing the Alba logo, utilised red soles and contrasting uppers.
Louboutin made headlines after suing fashion rival YSL for infringing the red sole mark with a monochromatic red shoe. YSL counterclaimed that the mark should be invalidated, and in August 2011 District Court Judge Victor Marrero agreed, concluding that “a monopoly on the color red would impermissibly hinder competition among other participants”.
But in September last year, a panel of judges from the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the decision. The appellate court resurrected the red sole mark, but limited it to shoes featuring red soles and contrasting uppers and ruled that YSL’s all-red shoe did not infringe.
The ruling was welcomed by brand owners and industry organisations including Tiffany and INTA, both of which filed amicus briefs in support of Louboutin.
In Louboutin’s latest lawsuit, the designer claims Alba imports and sells copies of the Louboutin shoes. According to the complaint, authentic Louboutin shoes sell for up to $6400 a pair.
Louboutin is suing for trade mark infringement, counterfeiting, trade mark dilution, unfair competition and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act and New York State law.