One of the many concerns of fashion law is protection of designs and marks of fashion brands. The interplay of IP rights amid economic principles that encourage fair competition often result in brand disputes among these designers. This case review which is the first of our series highlights the legal tussle between two iconic fashion brands on the scope of design/trademark protection afforded by the existing statutory framework. Background In 1992, Christian Louboutin introduced a signature footwear with a contrasting outer red lacquered sole popularly known as ''Red Bottoms''. The continuous demand of the ''red bottom'' footwear by high-profile fashion savvy individuals is evidence of the success of the brand. To secure the right in the design, the footwear design was registered in 2008. Subsequently, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), another iconic French designer introduced the monochrome series of shoes in green, purple and red. The shoes came in complete monochromic characteristics i.e. where the shoe is green, the entire shoe is green and where the shoe is red, the entire shoe is red including the sole. Upon release of these series, Christian Louboutin reached out to YSL to take down the shoes from the market. Unfortunately, initial attempts at amicable settlement proved abortive. Louboutin relying on the Lanham Act1 brought an action before the District Court on April 7, 2011. Read More
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