Fashion Law: Christian Louboutin Sues Carmen Steffens for Trademark Infringement

Is Louboutin being a bully or do they really have a legitimate cause of action? There is an old saying to “let sleeping dogs lie.” Carmen Steffens is minding its business but Louboutin wants a fight. If Steffens is right, then they should press forward for punitive (punishment) damages (monies) and attorney fees and any other remedy available under the law. Attorneys and those who hire them can’t be about the business of pursuing unsubstantiated claims/lawsuits. If they insist and it becomes clear they didn’t do their homework, then injured parties ought to take advantage of the full provisions of the law to compensate them for the harassment, damage to reputation as it will be in this instance if Steffens is right, expenses and time, among other things.

Also, so far, these kinds of suits are opening up under trademark law. It will be interesting to see the nature of suits that arise should the “Fashion Copyright” bill be passed.

FOR UDUAK LAW FIRM BLOG ANALYSIS on Trademark infringement suits, click here.

WWD reports,

“Christian Louboutin is all fired up about its trademark.

After initiating legal action against French luxury house Yves Saint Laurent last week for selling shoes that infringed on his trademarked red soles, the designer has accused another footwear brand — Carmen Steffens of Brazil — of the same offense.

The São Paulo-based brand issued a press release Monday responding to Christian Louboutin’s allegations, made in January, saying it has “since its inception created a logo in red, called ‘rosette,’” and finds it “surprising that another brand is trying to reserve the rights to any color.”

The statement added, “The tones are not the same, and, as catalogs dating from 1996 can prove, Carmen Steffens shoes contain soles of all colors, including red.”

Louboutin was awarded a registered trademark for its red soles in 2008 by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, but the complaint is directed only at Carmen Steffens France and no other markets.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Spaniol, Carmen Steffens’ international development director, said in the statement, “We are ready to provide unassailable evidence that we have been using colored soles, especially red, before Mr. Christian Louboutin popularized his. . .”

WWD has the full story.