The Conflict: Designer Christian Louboutin has been selling red-soled high-heeled shoes since 1992. The shoes have become iconic in the fashion world, earning more than US$100 million last year. Louboutin was awarded a trademark for red soles in 2008, and is now defending the signature look, filing a lawsuit against French fashion house Yves St. Laurent in April for selling its own red-soled shoes.
The Outcome: The two sides squared off recently in a New York courtroom. A lawyer for Louboutin argued the red sole is the “lifeblood of this company,” and that if Yves St. Laurent is allowed to continue selling its own variety, Louboutin would be ruined. Yves St. Laurent’s lawyers questioned the validity of Louboutin’s trademark, pointing out that red has been a signature colour of the fashion house for decades. The judge is expected to issue a ruling soon.