Christian Louboutin sues Yves Saint Laurent

by

Writer

08 April 2011

Christian Louboutin is alleging Yves Saint Laurent America of violating the label's trademark red-soled shoes. Louboutin shoes are loved by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Paris based Louboutin says Yves Saint Laurent is selling shoes with red soles that are "virtually identical" to its own, according to a suit filed today in a federal court in Manhattan. It seeks a court injunction against the sale of the shoes and damages of at least $1 million. Yves Saint Laurent has been selling red-sole shoes under brand names such as Tribute, Palais and Woodstock at high-end fashion stores that also sell Louboutin footwear, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman, according to the complaint.

"Defendants' use of a red sole on their infringing footwear threatens to mislead the public, and has impaired plaintiffs' ability to control their reputation," Louboutin said in the complaint. Yves Saint Laurent America  had no comment.

Louboutin got the idea for the red-sole shoes when he painted red nail polish on the black soles of a pair of women's shoes, the complaint states. He introduced the red soles in 1992 and since then they have been on all of the company's luxury shoes, according to the lawsuit. On Barneys' website, Louboutin red-sole shoes are priced from $445 to more than $4,000 a pair.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Louboutin a trademark for the red sole in 2008, according to the complaint. Louboutin was informed by Yves Saint Laurent executives by letter in January that they planned to "continue to sell the infringing footwear," the lawsuit states. Yves Saint Laurent is a unit of Paris-based PPR (PP), which owns Gucci and other luxury brands.