Fashion Tidbits

After a little hiatus, CanadaFashionLaw is back and, mon dieu, do we have some stuff to chat about!

1.  Galliano Makes a Come Back


You may recall Galliano’s fall from grace after his MAJOR fashion faux pas – hurling racist comments. (Click here if you need a reminder).  After two years of radio silence, Galliano may be making a come back.  Oscar de la Renta, the master of the red carpet, is allowing Galliano to use some of this studio space on a temporary basis.  It will be interesting to see whether Galliano will be accepted again.


2. Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent Continue their Stomp Off


If you had the slightest interest in shoes, the colour red or fashion law last year, I’m pretty sure you heard about the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent case. (Click here for all the juicy details). Although the court released its decision and Louboutin chose not to appeal, this matter has not been put to bed.  As per the decision, Louboutin is required to amend the colour claim in its trade-mark registration. The parties are now embroiled in a chain of letters to and from the US Patent and Trademarks Office about how exactly the colour claim should be revised.  Who said being a fashion lawyer wasn’t fun?


3. Ford Modelling Agency Closes its Toronto Office


In a surprise announcement, esteemed modelling agency Ford Models closed its Toronto office in January 2013.  Ford Models did not issue a press release and there is no indication as to why the Toronto office was closed.  Nonetheless, Toronto’s competing modelling agencies were quick to swoop in to sign those models who had been signed to Ford Models.


4. CanadaFashionLaw Struts its Stuff


CanadaFashionLaw has some exciting things coming up.  If you’re interested in getting up to speed on all things fashion, the following may interest you:


– We’ll be featured in the style edition of The University of Toronto’s alumni magazine talking about the bigger ramifications of counterfeiting;


– As a board member of the Toronto chapter of Fashion Group International, we’ll be hosting a 4-part roundtable series on laws relevant to the fashion industry.


– In April, we’ll be speaking at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago at their Fashion Law Society conference.


– In May, we’re hosting a roundtable seminar at the International Trademarks Association’s Annual General Meeting on fashion law, (which sold out on the first day.  That’s right – we did a happy dance!)


If this is any indication, 2013 is going to be a busy year!

End of the Road for Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent

It appears that fashion’s most infamous case has finally come to a close.  If you want to read up on the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent case, you’ll find a full summary here.  Both parties seemingly came away from the Appeal decision satisfied: Christian Louboutin’s trade-mark registration remained valid and exclusivity was maintained with respect to red soles with contrasting shoes; Yves Saint Laurent was found not to infringe with respect to its red shoes, red soles color configuration.

As of today (October 16), Yves Saint Laurent has filed submissions with the Appeals court seeking it dismiss its various counterclaims against Christian Louboutin.  It appears that both parties are intent on putting this matter behind them and continue to focus on their respective businesses.

Louboutin v. YSL Forced to Agree to Disagree

The fashion law community has been carefully watching Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent battle over red-soled shoes.

CanadaFashionLaw has kept its readers in the know every step of the way.  We’re pleased to provide a summary on the much anticipated appeal decision. (If you’ve been hiding under a rock and need to catch up to this whole dispute click here). At first the twitter-verse heralded this decision as a definitive win for Christian Louboutin. However, on closer examination this appears to be more of a win-win (or a lose-lose) situation. Ultimately, co-existence is the name of the game – a concept that is common in the trade-marks world.

First and foremost, the Appeals Courtfound fault in the District Court’s holding that a single color cannot serve as a trade-mark in the fashion industry. (I can hear Tiffany’s breath a sign of relief). Second, the Appeals Courtconfirmed that Christian Louboutin has acquired secondary meaning in the red-soled shoe. However, here is the crux of the decision that lead to co-existence in the marketplace. Christian Louboutin has only acquired secondary meaning of the red-soled shoes in respect of shoes that are in stark contrast with the red-soles. So, Yves Saint Laurent’s use of red-soles on red shoes is not problematic. As such, the Appeals Court has ordered that Christian Louboutin’s trade-mark registration be amended to reflect this limitation in the scope of protection, specifically:

…to limit the registration of the Red Sole Mark to only those situations in which the red lacquered outsole contrasts in color with the adjoining “upper” of the shoe.

It will be interesting to see if this judgment has wider implications and serve as a tool to competitors looking to limit a wide scope of brand protection secured by heavy hitting industry players.