Recent Federal Trademark Decision Has Famous Fashion Company Seeing Red

TOWSON, Md., Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent federal appeals court case demonstrates that trademarks can go well beyond symbols, designs and words.  Even a single color can qualify for federal trademark protection, according to Josh Glikin, a partner in the leading business law firm Bowie & Jensen

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121109/PH09807 )

The case involved a lawsuit by a high-end women's shoe company, Louboutin, against the venerable French fashion company, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL).  Louboutin's expensive high heeled shoes feature a shiny, laquer red heel and red soles that contrast vividly with the colors of the rest of the shoe.  It obtained a federal trademark registration for the use of the color red on shoes. 

YSL began producing shoes that were completely red, including the heel.  Louboutin sued, seeking to stop YSL from producing shoes with red heels.  YSL argued that it was not possible to obtain trademark rights on something as simple as the color of a shoe, but the court disagreed.  It held that because the red heel and sole of the Louboutin shoes had become associated with the high-end designer (much like pink insulation is associated with Owens-Corning), Louboutin's trademark was valid and could be enforced against YSL.  The court held, however, that YSL would not be prohibited from manufacturing shoes that were completely red, including a red heel, because it was the contrast between the red heel and the color of the Louboutin shoe that was Louboutin's true mark.

The case goes to show that even a color can qualify for trademark protection if used in the correct way.  Bowie & Jensen attorneys have decades of experience in advising businesses and business owners about how to build a solid trademark portfolio that distinguishes their goods and services from competitors.  Louboutin obviously received solid advice about how to build and protect its recognizable red-heel trademark, and that advice paid off in spades years later.

Mr. Glikin is Bowie & Jensen's partner that manages the litigation team in the firm's intellectual property department.  He has experience litigating intellectual property matters in federal courts throughout the country, including patent, trademark and copyright infringement litigation, trade secret misappropriation, and software disputes.  Mr. Glikin also has general litigation experience that includes breach of contract, employment and securities law claims.

Mr. Glikin's experience ranges from a high value, complex software dispute in Illinois to litigation in Utah federal court involving internet data theft.  He also has served as lead counsel in patent infringement litigation involving a variety of electrical and mechanical devices, business methods and pharmaceutical patents (including ANDA litigation).  His trademark and copyright litigation experience includes cases for a national fast food restaurant, an internet based crime tracking company, a sports apparel manufacturer, and the United States subsidiaries of the three South Korean broadcasting networks. 

Mr. Glikin also has experience handling complex software litigation and development disputes for companies that develop financial services software, security software and email messaging software.

For more information about trademarks, including trademark protection, please contact Josh Glikin at 443-921-4233.

About Bowie & Jensen



Bowie & Jensen is a leading business law firm with attorneys representing clients around the world. Bowie & Jensen focuses on Business Litigation, Business Transactions, Intellectual Property, Employment Law, Real Estate, Estates & Trusts, Patent Law, Tax and Construction Law. The firm is located in Towson, Maryland and is a full-service business law firm. Bowie & Jensen can be reached at 410-583-2400, or at info@bowie-jensen.com; on the Net www.bowie-jensen.com.

SOURCE Bowie & Jensen



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