The ongoing battle known as Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent (“YSL”) has been decided, with the Second Circuit rejecting what had previously been thought of as a bright line rule that a single color cannot be a fashion trademark and recognizing the trademarked red sole associated with Louboutin.
The decision is nuanced however, as the Court ultimately found in favor of YSL. The decision indicated that the uniformly red YSL shoe did not run afoul of the Louboutin trademark protection, which it concluded covered shoes where the sole was red in contrast to the rest of the shoe.
Louboutin will likely pursue other competitors who use the red color exclusively for the sole. However this narrowing of its trademark opens the door for more competitors to safely use a red sole on otherwise red shoes.
Apparently, location is everything.