in the news… brand colour battle continues with tiffany & co. backing louboutin’s red

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller
In the news. Colour Brand battle continues. Tiffany supporting Louboutin.

Photos courtesy: Flickr

Back in April I wrote how Louboutin was suing YSL over copying their signature red sole. It is no surprise to see Tiffany & Co. have now come out supporting Louboutin that a colour can be trademarked.

So why has Tiffany & Co. decided to file a brief in support of Louboutin? Tiffany & Co. regard their brand colour to be such an integral part of their branding, they went to great lengths to protect this by trademarking their famous Tiffany Blue.

If Louboutin lose their case, not only will Tiffany’s trademarked colour be in jeopardy, but all brands who have trademarked their colours.

The reason why the judge denied a preliminary injunction against YSL is because the YSL shoes in question come in a myriad of coloured soles, not just red.  There is no denying that Louboutin wasn’t the first one to create the red sole shoe. King Louis XIV wore red sole shoes in the 1600s and we all know about Dorothy’s ruby red shoes in the Wizard of Oz.

In the news… brand colour battle continues. YSL coloured soles.

YSL multi-coloured soles | Image Source:

It will be interesting to see how this landmark case plays out as it could have repercussions for many well known brands and their trademark colours.

Source: ArtInfo, the importance of colour in branding – why louboutin is seeing red and colour branding – tiffany blue increases brand recognition.

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  1. Tamsin Fox-Davies on October 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I guess the issue about trademark infringement is to do with whether someone is pretending to be someone else, or could be thought to be that person.

    Although I see why brands would want to trademark their colours, I don’t see that it would be an easy thing to uphold. For example, with Tiffany, have they trademarked their colour for packaging or everything?

    Fascinating topic!

    • admin on October 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Tamsin,

      Tiffany has their own Pantone colour reference which isn’t available in the Pantone Colour Palette. It’s the PMS code they have trademarked.

      It will be interesting to see how this court case unfolds for Louboutin. Stay tuned…

  2. The Decor Girl on November 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I would agree Louboutin would have an argument against someone else having a red sole, because anyone knows a pair of LB’s from the sole. However, it is difficult to argue any colored sole. On the other hand, it is such a iconic symbol of LB’s brand, YSL is a little bit sullied for wanting to copy the concept. Not that I wouldn’t like a blue sole.

    Color rules!

    • admin on November 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Lisa, you’re absolutely right that it’s become an iconic symbol of the Louboutin brand. Reading more about the case it appears that YSL have a rainbow of coloured soles and Louboutin are just asking them to stop producing red ones. What would be interesting to know is if YSL decided to create multi-coloured soles as a way of getting the red ones into their range….

  3. Laura on November 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

    OMG, how interesting… and very clever on YSL’s part. Producing soles in different colours including the red was probably a move to blur the lines.
    Its very tricky to protect a trade mark in design though. Even last night wandering round the supermarket I saw a tea towel that smacked of a Cath Kidston design, just in a slightly larger scale.
    What do you do? Stop designs evolving and stiffle future creativity and commerce?
    Tricky. But looking forward to hearing how the case unfolds Karen. Thanks for sharing…

    • admin on November 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Laura, I’ve been wondering that one too. It would have looked a bit obvious otherwise 😉
      Yest, it can be very tricky to protect a trademark. It doesn’t stop others from taking inspiration or creating something ‘in the style of’. Most new products come out taking something that already existing and creating the next evolution. Interesting to see what comes out of this court case.

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