By James Stewart

It is an exciting time for fashion law in the Second Circuit. On the heels of a landmark trademark decision holding that red soles could serve as a source identifier, the Second Circuit now approaches fashion law from a different perspective—copyright.

As mentioned in previous posts, fashion designers today rely primarily on trademark, patent, and anti-counterfeiting laws as the sources of protection for their designs. In some instances, designers invoke narrow copyright protection for their works.

Prom and pageant dress designer Jovani Fashion Ltd. (“Jovani”) brought a copyright infringement action against Fiesta Fashions (“Fiesta”) in the District Court for the Southern District of New York for allegedly copying decorative aspects of Jovani’s designs. Jovani’s claim of copyright protection is founded upon the idea that the design at issue combines features which serve both decorative and utilitarian purposes, but can be separated from the article and function independently. The District Court dismissed the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.


Continue Reading Sequins, Crystals, and Satin: 2nd Circuit Declines to Extend Copyright Protection to Prom Dresses

My September 5, 2012 article, “2nd Circuit Says Yes to Louboutin’s Red Sole Trademark,” poses the question: “is this decision a true victory for Louboutin or YSL?”  Tamlin H. Bason’s article in Patent, Trademark & Copyright Law Daily seems to suggest that both sides are claiming victory. 

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Reproduced with permission from Patent,Trademark & Copyright Law Daily, (Sept. 12, 2012). Copyright 2012 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>

By Tamlin H. Bason 

Both parties claimed victory after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Sept. 5 determined that Christian Louboutin’s trademark on red soled shoes was valid and that Yves Saint Laurent’s monochrome red shoe did not infringe the registered mark. Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America Holding Inc., 2d Cir., No. 11-3303-cv, 9/5/12).


Continue Reading Both Sides Claim Victory as 2nd Cir. Upholds Louboutin’s Mark, Says YSL Didn’t Infringe

Right on time for New York’s Fashion Week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that “Louboutin’s trademark, consisting of a red, lacquered outsole on a high fashion woman’s shoe” has acquired secondary meaning as a distinctive source-identifier for Louboutin’s luxury brand.  More than one year after a U.S. federal district court denied a preliminary injunction against Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and issued a decision invalidating Louboutin’s red sole trademark, the Second Circuit has rendered Christian Louboutin’s iconic “Chinese red” soles to be a valid, protectable, and enforceable trademark.


Continue Reading 2nd Circuit Says Yes to Louboutin’s Red Sole Trademark