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Judge's Top 5 Points in Refusing Louboutin's Trademark Suit

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Judge's Top 5 Points in Refusing Louboutin's Trademark Suit

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Christian Louboutin's request for an injunction prohibiting YSL from selling red-soled pumps has officially been denied, seeming to open the door to other shoe-makers creating heels with red soles themselves.

Judge Victor Marrero issued a 30-page ruling that not only upheld YSL's ability to present its own red shoes, but challenged the entire basis of Louboutin's 2008 trademark on the use of the hue. Almost more interesting than his conclusion, however, were the judge's arguments -- spanning the philosophy of aesthetics and Jennifer Lopez lyrics. (Plus, we learned that the infamous Louboutin outsole is actually Pantone-18 Chinese Red.)

Here, we've compiled the most thought-provoking and just downright amusing nuggets of wisdom from Judge Marrero's spectacular legalese: 

The J-Lo Factor That Holds No Legal Basis
"Lacquered red outsoles on high-heeled, black shoes flaunt a glamorous statement that pops out at once. For those in the know, cognitive bulbs instantly flash to associate: 'Louboutin' .. In the words of a lyrical stylist of modern times: 'Boy, watch me walk it out / ...walk this right up out the house / I'm throwin' on my Louboutins.'" (Jennifer Lopez, "Louboutins")

The Whitman Question
"Hence, this case poses a Whitmanesque question. Paraphrased for adaptation to the heuristics of the law, it could be framed like this.  A lawyer said: 'What is the red on the outsole of a woman’s shoe?' and fetching it to court with full hands asks the judge to rule it is 'gift and remembrancer designedly dropt / Bearing the owner‟s name someway in the corners, that we may / see and remark, and say Whose?'" (Walt Whitman, "Leaves of Grass")

The Difference Between Pink Insulation and Red Soles
"... Whatever commercial purposes may support extending trademark protection to a single color for industrial goods do not easily fit the unique characteristics and needs -- the creativity, aesthetics, taste, and seasonal change -- that define production of articles of fashion ... Can one imagine industrial models sashaying down the runways in displays of the designs and shades of the season‟s collections of wall insulation?"

The Freedom of Sex Appeal
"The outsole of a shoe is, almost literally, a pedestrian thing. Yet, coated in a bright and unexpected color, the outsole becomes decorative, an object of beauty. To attract, to reference, to stand out, to blend in, to beautify, to endow with sex appeal -- all comprise non-trademark functions of color in fashion."

The Risk of a Red Cloud Over Fashion
"Fashion ... is susceptible to taste ... Thus, at any moment when the market and the deities of design, by whatever fancy they decide those things, proclaim that 'passion' is in for a given season and must be expressed in reds in the year's various collections, Louboutin's claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers could do, while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette."

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