Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Louboutin loses case: Zara may continue selling red-soled shoes

A French court rejected Christian Louboutin SA's trademark-infringement claim against high-street retailer Zara.

Louboutin loses case: Zara may continue selling red-soled shoes

French shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, opens his first ever retrospective exhibition, at the Design Museum, London. The exhibition will be the first comprehensive presentation of Louboutin, and will showcase how over the past 20 years he has helped transformed the design of the shoe. Monday, April 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short)
French shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, opens his first ever retrospective exhibition, at the Design Museum, London. The exhibition will be the first comprehensive presentation of Louboutin, and will showcase how over the past 20 years he has helped transformed the design of the shoe. Monday, April 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short) ASSOCIATED PRESS

This sea of stilettos just turned sour. A French court rejected Christian Louboutin's trademark-infringement claim against high-street retailer Zara.

The luxury showmaker originally sued Zara in 2011, with claims that the Spanish retailer's £40 red-soled, peep toed, slingback shoes not only infringed upon its trademark, but was remarkably similar to the Louboutin Yo-Yo shoe. The exact wording in the suit was "counterfeiting and unfair competition" according to WWD. Initially, the court sided with Louboutin, but a dissatisfied Zara filed an appeal.

Just last week, the court ruled that Zara could in fact, sell these red-bottomed shoes, stating that customers would not confuse Louboutins and Zara-branded heels. Furthermore, Louboutin has been ordered to compensate Zara with 2,500 euros or $3,600 for their troubles. 

In these past twenty years, Louboutin has remained a favorite shoe brand among celebrities and socialites. With singers and stars professing their love for the designer label, Louboutin has maintained a luster that no other shoe brand has been able to perpetuate or uphold.

Louboutin's general manager Alexis Mourot told the U.K.'s Daily Mail that the luxury shoe company would continue its battle to protect the red sole trademark. Earlier this year, Louboutin told a French newspaper, "Colors play a part in a brand's identity. I'm not saying that the color red belongs to me. I repeat that this is about a specific shade of red, used on a specific part [of the shoe]." The specific shade of red Louboutin has re-filed for is Pantone's “Chinese Red.”

Although the French court's decision will have no bearing on the ongoing YSL-Louboutin case, things are certainly looking grim for the legendary red sole-creator. What are your thoughts on the debate?

Esther Lee Philly.com
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Reach Esther at elee@philly.com.

Esther Lee Philly.com
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