Marksmen Assists in High End Fashion Dust-Up
August 18, 2011 – Marksmen, a worldwide leader in brand protection services, was tapped by David H. Bernstein of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, outside counsel to Yves Saint Laurent, in responding to a lawsuit brought by Christian Louboutin over the use of red lacquered soles on women’s high fashion footwear. Louboutin claimed to have the exclusive right to use the color red and took exception to Yves Saint Laurent using a “nearly identical” red on the sole of its monochromatic, all-red shoes. YSL defended, in part, by noting that the color red is used on its shoes, and the shoes of other designers, for its ornamental qualities, and as such it is aesthetically functional. To help establish that defense, Debevoise hired Marksmen to leverage eBeagle® in scouring the Internet for other fashion designers’ use of red soles on women’s high-fashion shoes. “The evidence Marksmen uncovered proved very useful to our defense,” said Bernstein. “It helped us show the Court that many other designers use and have used red soles for their aesthetic qualities as well, including Chanel, Christian Dior, Ferragamo, Mark Jacobs, Burberry, Balenciaga, and Cesare Paciotti. That so many other designers also have used red soles supported the notion that this is an aesthetic design choice, not trade dress infringement.” United States District Judge Victor Marrero ultimately agreed; he denied Louboutin’s application for a preliminary injunction and ruled that Louboutin was not entitled to trademark protection for the color red because it is functional in the fashion context.
Founded in 1998, Marksmen is a world leader in IP protection services, including trademark clearance and enforcement investigations, determining business method patents and processes, establishing and locating prior art, due diligence, worldwide on-ground investigations, litigation support and Internet related infringements. Additionally, Marksmen negotiates for the purchase or sale of IP rights internationally and monitors the Internet for both Web content and domain name registrations.