The tell-tale red soles under a pair of Louboutins is arguably the feature that makes them the most special. But could you be buying your next pair of crimson-soled shoes on the high street? Perhaps, as last week in Paris, a French court awarded the local subsidiary of Zara the right to sell red-soled shoes.
The ruling, which came from France’s final court of appeal, upheld the June 2011 decision in favour of Zara, and sentenced Monsieur Louboutin to pay legal costs of £2,000 to Inditex - the Spanish retail giant that owns Zara – as compensation.
In the original case, Louboutin had sued Zara for counterfeiting and unfair competition based on the allegation that Zara had sold an open-toed shoe similar to Louboutin’s Yo Yo model. Louboutin won that case but then Zara appealed and won in June 22 2011 because, according to WWD, the court of appeal said ‘the terms of Louboutin’s trademark registration were too vague, noting for instance that it did not contain a Pantone colour reference for the red soles.’
The court added that there was no risk of confusing the Loubs with the Zara heels – a fact we’re sure most women will agree with. Especially when credit card bills arrive.
Louboutin has registered a fresh trademark application, meaning that the exact of red is protected.
The French ruling doesn’t mean that Zara can start selling red-soled shoes but we’re prepared to bet that, even with the cost of a Eurostar ticket, it might still be worth a trip to Paris to check out Zara's shoe offering.