Christian Louboutin has lost a lawsuit that sought to stop high street fashion chain, Zara, from selling heels with the same distinctive scarlet soles that made his brand popular some two decades ago.
Louboutin, the Daily Mail reported, initially sued the Spanish brand in 2008, claiming that the open-toed red-soled shoes it was selling for £40 was too similar to the Louboutin Yo Yo slingbacks.
A French court ruled, however, that Zara’s more affordable red-sole shoes could not be confused for Louboutin’s trademark heels, which are favoured by stars and priced at hundreds of pounds a pair.
Last week, the Cour de Cassation, the final court of appeal, further upheld the decision and ruled that Louboutin must pay Zara £2,000 in compensation.
Louboutin, who registered a trademark in 2008 that will give him the sole right to make red-soled shoes for “women’s high fashion designer footwear”, is also suing designer Yves Saint Laurent.
He accused YSL of copying his red-sole trademark in his 2011 resort collection.
The Mail reports that a verdict in Louboutin’s case against YSL is yet to be decided.
While Louboutin realizes that he doesn’t have the corner market on the colour red, the designer says the colour “in a specific context” is important to his brand.
“Even in the food industry, Cadbury recently won a lawsuit against Nestlé for using purple packaging,” Louboutin told French newspaper Libération.
“All this proves that the colours play a part in a brand’s identity. I’m not saying that red usually belongs to me – I repeat that this is about a precise red, used in a precise location.”
Louboutin got the idea for his red-soled shoes 20 years ago when he painted red nail police on the black soles of a pair of women’s shoes.