On Thursday, April 7, Louboutin filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court. He is seeking a court injunction against the sale of the supposed copycat shoes by Yves Saint Laurent in the U.S. and damages of at least $1 million. Louboutin registered his red-soled shoes with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1997, but it’s unclear whether the trademark covers all red-soled shoes. Yves Saint Laurent’s spring 2011 collection features a pair of red suede shoes with matching red soles. The collection also features purple shoes with purple soles, navy with navy soles and green with green soles, but it’s the red soles that have sparked the legal action.
The lawsuit states that in January, Louboutin learned YSL was selling red soles at Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York,Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. “Defendant’s use of red footwear outsoles that are virtually identical to plaintiff’s Red Sole Mark is likely to cause and is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the relevant purchasing public as to the origin of the infringing footwear.” “The location of the bright color on the outsole of a woman’s pump is said to provide an alluring ‘flash of red’ when a woman walks down the street, or on the red carpet of a special event,” the lawsuit says. A pair of Louboutin shoes can add six inches of height to a woman, forcing her to stand with her chest out and giving the appearance that she has longer legs. They can fetch as much as $4,500, with the cheapest pair costing about $600.00.