The War of the Red Soles Continues: YSL Answers Louboutin

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Back in April, Christian Louboutin sued YSL for its use of a red sole on a red pump as part of a larger seasonal collection. Now, Louboutin's lawyers have filed a motion to prevent said red-soled shoe from being sold in stores, and YSL is speaking out against the charges.

According to WWD, YSL is disputing claims of lost sales and consumer confusion, and believes that Louboutin's trademark on the red sole is baseless to begin with.

David Bernstein, a lawyer for YSL, told the daily, "Louboutin's trademark should never have been granted ... We just don't think that any fashion designer should be able to monopolize any color."

Louboutin attorney Harvey Lewin, naturally, had a counterpoint:

“We are not claiming to own every red under the sun. There’s a particular red that Christian uses on his shoes, a bright, lacquered red,” he said. “We aren’t saying burgundy or orange-red, we aren’t saying pink. We don’t own any other red but that red.”

There will be a hearing next Friday to try the injunction in court, and while the case may seem frivolous to the outsider, it cuts to the heart of the many copyright issues and lawsuits in the design industry over the past few years. In Louboutin's case, the designer has the benefit of longevity -- the red soles have been a fixture in Louboutin's arsenal for years, and are indeed a signature element of his collection -- but in YSL's case, the entire shoe was the color red, from the fabric of the pump to the sole in question. As such, this doesn't appear to be as clear-cut a case, unlike the myriad Louboutin knock-offs that may crop up on the Web. (As a sidenote: Louboutin certainly seems to have good reason to defend his signature look: Even the Google search results page for "Christian Louboutin" currently includes a disclaimer saying that a search result has been removed "under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.")

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