Ladies, Lipstick & Litigation: Valentino vs. Louboutin

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In this premier episode of Ladies, Lipstick & Litigation, Jeunesse Rutledge and Heidi Thole talk about a case before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office wherein high-fashion brand Valentino is applying for a trademark on its pyramid-shaped studs that adorn women’s shoes. Though at first the brand’s application was denied, Valentino filed an extensive appeal arguing that if Christian Louboutin‘s distinctive red soles received a trademark, so, too, should the studs.

Trademarks are symbols or signs that tell you the source of goods and services. Trademarks can be colors, sounds, and even smells, but they must be "distinctive;" i.e., they indicate the source of the goods or services. Think of the particular shade of blue that indicates a box is from Tiffany’s or the brown associated with UPS delivery trucks. Orange or red lettering indicating caution, while universally recognized, would not qualify because the colors do not indicate the source of the goods inside a box requiring the warning, for example.

If you have questions about whether or not your idea or product qualifies for a distinctive trademark, please contact Jeunesse Rutledge, Heidi Thole or your Reinhart attorney.


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