Transfer Pricing Associates

Louboutin Sues Zara

post Friday September 28, 2012


Louboutin’s court case against Zara closed in June. The designer, Christian Louboutin, sued the High Street chain for copying his signature red soled high heels. He based his claim on the  trademark which he registered in 2008 on claiming exclusive rights to create women’s high heeled footwear with red soles.

Louboutin sued Zara in 2008 for selling open toed shoes that closely resembled shoes in the designers line. The designer won the case, however Zara filed an appeal in 2011 arguing the definition Louboutin used in his trademark application was too vague. The presiding judge accepted the argument and ruled in favor of Zara. It was also been decided that the risk that customers would confuse the two brands is not high. As a follow up on the court case the French designer received a bill of £2,500, or about $3,600 to serve as compensation.

The Louboutin vs. Zara case was not the first for the designer, who has previously sued Yves Saint Laurent and Jessica Simpson for similar infringement issues. In the case against YSL, the courts ruled against Louboutin stating that a designer was allowed to choose colors from “every streak in the rainbow” and compared the case to the battle between Picasso and Monet. Louboutin appealed the decision and the case is currently awaiting verditc at the U.S. Court of Appeals.  

Louboutin recently argued that in his case the issue is about a specific tone of red and not just any kind of red. He further argued that he should have the right for that tone based on the fact that Ferrari red and Hermès orange exist. He also quoted a recent case where Cadbury won against Nestlé in a lawsuit about the color of the packaging and he added his personal opinion that “colors play a part in a brand’s identity” As a follow up, he re-filed his trademark and included the specification of the color as “Chinese Red”.

An important implication of these court cases is that of had Louboutin won them than they would give him complete freedom to create shoes in any color while limiting other designers’ color usage.

You can find further details in the summary of the court case with Yves Saint Laurent on the website of IPR Plaza under Court Cases.

Source: Daily Mail

Image Source: Free Digital Photos

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