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DIY Louboutin: A Can of Red Paint and $30 Pumps

Posted in Sight, Trademarks

–Catlan McCurdy, Attorney

Tara Haughton, a 16 year old from Ireland, sells stick-on-soles to transform your shoes into Louboutins.

Over at DuetsBlog, we have been anxiously awaiting the Second Circuit’s decision in Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent. It was predicted that a decision would be made by early Spring 2012. Meanwhile, the French have already made their decision and moved on, covered by our own Tiffany Blofield here.

The British, however, are handling the Louboutin craze a little differently. The Telegraph reports that hundreds of Brits are taking matters into their own hands and painting the soles of ordinary shoes red to imitate the famous designer.

Sales of red gloss colours such as Duracoat’s ‘Flame’ and ‘Show Stopper’ have soared by 40 per cent compared to the same period last year and Homebase claim the surge is due to women copying the Louboutin shoes worn by their style icons which retail for up to £635.”

These consumers have decided the Louboutin price tag is too hefty for their pocketbooks, resorting to painting the soles of cheaper pumps red in order to impress strangers at cousins’ weddings. Or so confesses one Claire Stevenson, a 24 year old from Croydon, England, who told the Telegraph, “I received so many compliments at the wedding about my gorgeous shoes but I didn’t have the heart to confess they were DIY fakes. It was such a success I plan on doing the same for another pair of heels.” Let’s hope for Claire’s sake that she gave a fake name for that interview.

Christian Louboutin originally developed the famous red sole by painting the soles of a pair of black pumps with red fingernail polish after deciding that the shoes “lacked energy.” So, are our friends across the pond paying respects to Louboutin by imitating his method, or are these DIY consumers painting themselves right into a trademark suit?

I would think the latter, but realistically, I can’t see Louboutin suing individuals who are likely judgment proof. If they can’t afford to buy a pair of Louboutins, I doubt they would be able to pay damages for willful infringement. On the other hand, Tara Haughton, a 16 year old from County Kildaire, Ireland, looks like a potential defendant. Her company, Rosso Solini, sells stick-on-soles in a variety of colors, but it’s probably safe to say that she was inspired by Louboutin. Rosso Solini means “red soles” in Italian.

We’ll have to wait and see if Louboutin decides to file any more lawsuits before the Second Circuit decision breaks. In light of what just happened in France, I would expect that the designer is cooling his heels (yes, pun intended) and waiting for the Second Circuit as well.