KIND OF HUGE: Louboutin loses bid for preliminary injunction against YSL
Judge Marrero has denied Christian Louboutin S.A.'s request for a preliminary injunction against Yves Saint Laurent in the fashion law case LOF has been covering in exhaustive, exhausting detail (here, here, here, here, and, well, here.) Significantly, the denial was based on Louboutin's failure to show a likelihood of success as to whether its signature bright-red soles were eligible for trademark protection at all. If the judge adheres to this reasoning going forward, it will be an interesting couple of years for the "aesthetic functionality" doctrine -- and by extension, for color-based trademarks -- especially in the fashion industry and other aesthetically-oriented fields. The blockbuster quote from the court's opinion:
"Because in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition, the Court finds that Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection even if it has gained enough public recognition in the market to have acquired secondary meaning."
Court's Aug. 10, 2011 Decision and Order, at 8 (emphasis added).
By the way, I just have to say that LOF called it.
Look for a full analysis of Judge Marrero's opinion right here... sometime in the near future. Remember, I have another job. In any event, you can be sure a nice big chunk of my weekly column for Styleite.com, CATWALK JUSTICE, will be dedicated to the ruling.
[This post is for entertainment and informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship among any individuals or entities. Any views expressed herein are those of the writer on the particular date of this post, and should not necessarily be attributed to his law firm or its clients.]