Can a single color serve as a trademark in the fashion industry? According to a recent court decision, the answer is “yes” if certain conditions apply.
In Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America Holding, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a lower court’s holding that single colors cannot be protected in the fashion industry. The case revolved around Louboutin’s federal trademark registration for the color red in the form of a lacquered red sole on footwear. After Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL) launched a line of monochromatic shoes, Louboutin sued, asserting that YSL’s red shoe infringed Louboutin’s mark because the YSL shoe included a lacquered red sole. The lower court held that Louboutin’s trademark registration was inherently functional and thus likely invalid, and it denied Louboutin’s motion to enjoin YSL’s sales of the monochromatic shoe. Continue reading