Fashion retailer Zara has won a landmark case against footwear designer Christian Louboutin over the right to sell red-soled shoes, a feature the designer is well-known for.
Louboutin initially sued Zara back in 2008 for selling an open-toed red-soled shoe for €49 (£39.64) which it claimed was similar to its Yo Yo model but Zara filed an appeal on the grounds that there could be no proven risk of confusion between Zara’s footwear and that which Louboutin sells.
The court agreed with Zara but Louboutin then appealed against this ruling.
Last week The French Cour de Cassation, which is the final court of appeal, upheld the decision in favour of Zara and ruled that Louboutin pay Zara €2,500 (£2,000) in compensation.
In the initial ruling dated June 22, 2011, the court of appeal said the terms of Louboutin’s trademark registration were too vague, noting that it did not contain a Pantone colour reference for the red soles.
It said Louboutin has since cancelled that trademark and filed a fresh one containing additional information, including the Pantone shade in question.
Last week’s ruling by the Cour de Cassation determined that there was no legal or procedural error in the case.
Alexis Mourot, group chief operating officer and general manager of Christian Louboutin, said the company was determined to continue defending its red soles.
Louboutin has also accused designer Yves Saint Laurent of copying his famed red-soled footwear, resulting in a high-court appeal case, the verdict of which is yet to be decided.