US customs agents seized 20,457 pairs of fake Louboutins at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport on Tuesday. The ‘very good’ counterfeits were spread over five separate shipments from China and had an estimated retail value of $18 million.
‘Worn by celebrities and royalty in the fashion world, the lacquered red sole in [the] shoes is a distinctive symbol of the famous French designer Christian Louboutin,’ US Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz said.
‘However, US Customs and Border Protection specialists have a different view of the lacquered red sole. They see a trademark protected by US law.’
The shoes, thought to be bound for US-based e-tailers specialising in replica shoes, will likely be destroyed.
It’s an important victory for Louboutin at a moment when his right to exclusive use of red soles is under threat. The shoe designer is fighting legal battles against Yves Saint Laurent and Zara after both brands retailed red-soled shoes.