Christian Louboutin may have succeeded in protecting its iconic red soles in numerous international intellectual property disputes, but that hasn’t stopped a fledgling brand from cribbing the French house’s homework on its own trademark application.
New Jersey-based Reginald Bendolph LLC wants to claim federal trademark protection on grass green soles (Pantone 7481c, to be exact), and appears to have used a tweaked version of Louboutin’s sandal drawing in its filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as reported by The Fashion Law.
As attorney Erik Pelton pointed out on Twitter, the “drawing… looks remarkably familiar,” with the only significant difference being the color of the soles.
Unlike Louboutin, whose array of high-heel sandals often retail for upwards of $800 per pair, Reginald Bendolph appears to offer two green-soled styles: a patent pump for $200 and a ballet flat for $125. According to the application for registration, the brand first used the green sole on Mar. 1, 2017. And while the trademark is only concerned with the color of the sole, rather than the design of the shoe, there could be copyright issues at play with regards to the drawing itself.
Louboutin secured trademark registration for its red soles in 2008 in the U.S. and in 2010 in Europe, and it has been fighting to protect the mark almost ever since. In 2011, the brand took Yves Saint Laurent to court over a pair of all-red YSL pumps, a case that eventually resulted in Louboutin’s mark being upheld but modified to exclude shoes with a red outsole. In 2012, the house sued Dutch company Van Haren for allegedly infringing on its trademark by selling women’s high-heel shoes with red soles. Just this month, The Hague’s district court ruled in Louboutin’s favor, echoing a similar judgment last year in the European Court of Justice.
UPDATE: Bendolph responded to FN’s request for comment with the following statement. “The drawing was not intended to be used there was a miscommunication between the lawyer and I. The lawyer sent me the Christian Louboutin app as an example and I sent him a drawing of the shoe I wanted to use and he stated I have to use the shoe like the photo on the app but with green sole but not the same shoe.The following shoe below was supposed be used for the application which is a new shoe that I designed and will redo application using the following shoe below.”