INTA Seeks to Aid in Protection of Color Trademark

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The International Trademark Association (“INTA”), formerly known as the United States Trademark Association (USTA), has been around since 1878—longer than the color trademark and high-end designer shoes. It is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the support and advancement of trademarks and related intellectual property concepts as essential elements of trade and commerce. This important organization has over 5,700 members. When INTA speaks, people listen. Christian Louboutin hopes that the Second Circuit will listen.

You may recall a prior DuetsBlog post regarding the trademark battle in the Southern District of New York between two famous designers. The Christian Louboutin companies sued competitor Yves Saint Laurent companies based on its federally registered trademark for “a lacquered red sole on footwear.” In connection with this lawsuit, Christian Louboutin brought a motion for preliminary injunction. In denying the motion, the District Court found that granting trademark rights to this use of red would “significantly hinder competition,” that is, “permit one competitor (or a group) to interfere with legitimate (nontrademark-related) competition through actual or potential exclusive use of an important product ingredient.” Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am., Inc., 778 F. Supp. 2d 445, 454 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). In declining to find a likelihood of success to enjoin Yves Saint Laurent, the District Court explained that it “c[ould] not conceive that the Lanham Act could serve as the source of the broad spectrum of absurdities that would follow recognition of a trademark for the use of a single color for fashion items.” Id. at 457.

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