You may recall a few months ago that luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin conducted a legal crusade against several designers who had allegedly impeded on their “original” idea of crimson clad outsoles. This lead to the question within the design world: can you trademark a colour?
The main target of one of Louboutin’s lawsuit is luxury brand and (ironically) former collaborator Yves Saint Laurent. Louboutin is asking for $1 million in damages from YSL for “copying” his colour. YSL shamed Louboutin’s originality claim, saying that “red outsoles are a commonly used ornamental design feature in footwear, dating as far back as the red shoes worn by Kind Louis XIV in the 1600s and the ruby red shoes that carried Dorothy home in The Wizard of Oz.”
Well played, YSL, but I don’t think clicking your ruby red stilettos together three times will get Louboutin to give up that easily. Although I agree with you whole heartedly, I am not a legal expert. Trademarking a colour is absurd, but apparently Louboutin has the upper hand since it did do so in 2007. Let’s hope that a judge with a brain calls this absurdity, and unless Louboutin specially concocted this exact hue of red, then he needs to cease. The real victim of this whole shoe-nario is poor poor Louis XIV. If he were alive to see people stealing his style, he would have the copycats’ heads removed instead of their shoes.