Red sole diaries

How Christian Louboutin cases illustrate the unique intersection of fashion and trademark law

For the discerning fan of designer shoes, there is a big difference between a Manolo Blahnik and a Jimmy Choo. But no matter which brand is your favorite, if you are a shoe aficionado, you are certain to know the signature calling card of Christian Louboutin: the red sole. But just because this has been the French fashion designer’s calling card, does that mean he can trademark the red sole? The matter has come up in court both in the United States and in Europe, but with very different results. 

Recently, Louboutin accused a Dutch retail store, Van Dalen Footwear, of infringing on its registered trademark of the red-soled shoes. But Van Dalen filed a counterclaim resulting in Louboutin losing its trademark in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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