Saturday, January 28, 2012

Does Louboutin Own the Color Red?

Tiffany and Co. owns the color robin-egg blue, UPS owns brown, and Owens Coming has a domain over its own shade of pink. So, does Christian Louboutin own the color "China Red"? 

I am sure you have heard about the Christian Louboutin vs. Yves Saint Laurent battle that appeared in a Manhattan court on Jan. 24th. This court case did not come to anyone's surprise because, last August, Federal Judge Victor Marrero denied Louboutin's request to stop YSL from selling a line of shoes whose tops and bottoms are red.

"Louboutin's claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers could do while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full pallet," wrote Judge Marrero in his opinion. "Louboutin would thus be able to market a total outfit in red, while other designers would not."

David Bernstein, a lawyer for YSL, argued that artists of this type need the full palette of colors, therefore, in order to fairly compete--YSL needs red. Judge Marrero questioned whether a color could ever be trademarked for use in fashion, where "color...performs a creative function; it aims to please or be useful, not to identify and advertise a commercial source."

It is important to understand that there are broader issues in this case, which is that fashion designers have no protection. Intellectual property law has been preventing this for the past 100 years.

What do you think about this issue? I know I am a big fan of Louboutin's (hence the title of my blog) and one of my favorite characteristics of the brand is the red sole because it makes them different, and stand out. I feel like I have other fashionistas that would agree with me when I say that I think Christian Louboutin should own the color "China Red" because that is what makes his designs so special.


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