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Red Soles

Red shoe soles equal Christian Louboutin. It's his trademark. But I had no idea how literal it was. Untill today I thought anyone could produce shoes with red soles but I was proved wrong. And so was Yves Saint Laurent. YSL had decided to produce red-soled shoes for its 2011 cruise collection but Louboutin protested the idea. He actually sued YSL because according to them they have a trademark protection for the colour.

Now, if I get this right with my common sense, YSL wanted to use the colour red in their shoe soles but they couldn't because only Louboutin has the right to use that colour on their shoe soles. Still, I have to ask: he's the only person in the world who can produce red-soled shoes?(!) 

This is what a spokesman at Louboutin's said: "Unless you are living in a cave, the consumer most definately recognizes a red-soled shoe as a Louboutin. We are not claiming to own every red under the sun. There’s a particular red that Christian uses on his shoes, a bright, lacquered red. We aren’t saying burgundy or orange-red, we aren’t saying pink. We don’t own any other red but that red."

With absolutely no offence to Louboutin (his designs are divine if you ask me) but why on earth would he be the only brand in the world to have the rights to use that colour on the bottom of their footwear designs? What if Valentino had a patent for their Valentino-red in evening gowns or Alexander Wang had the exclusive rights for the colour grey in jumpers? Surely we'd run out of colours and shades by the time we went through all designers and pieces/parts of clothing. Besides, go to the high street and I'm sure you'll find red-soled shoes that aren't Christian Louboutin's.

Sadly, Louboutin won his argument but I can't stop thinking about the stupidity of owning the rights to a colour. There's no better way of putting this as YSL lawyer, David Bernstein: "Louboutin’s trademark should have never been granted. We just don’t think that any fashion designer should be able to monopolize any colour."

What are your thoughts on this?

UPDATE 11/08/2011: A New York judge has ruled that Yves Saint Laurent, or any other brand/designer for that matter, can produce red-soled shoes from now on, meaning that Christian Louboutin doesn't own the privileged rights for the colour anymore.