Louboutin & Skechers: Shoe Distributors Have Their Day in Court
From luxury brands to toning hooves, stylish and low-cost shoe distributors are up against the law these days. Sketchers' (NYSE: SKX) fitness tennis shoes have come under fire in a legal case claiming their health benefits are bogus, while the striking color women have come to know and love regarding their lavish Christian Louboutin heels now signifies a bloodbath the shoe distributor underwent in a court case this week.
SKX's athletic debacle made waves for the company when it came to investor confidence throughout recent months, as its toning soles were called out for making false and unsubstantiated claims in advertisements using celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke. While the tides are turning for the better since the hefty settlement, the shoe distributor is still dealing with backlash for promoting a product that its customers now feel duped by.
Skechers' shapely bottoms are not the only soles walking on thin ice, as privately-held shoe retailer Christian Louboutin has had to admit wrong-doings in court concerning its notorious red sole. Louboutin's spikey stems failed to crush the battle against Spanish clothing and accessories company Zara, a retailer that made use of the rosy underside for which Louboutin has become famous.
Here's where things get a little dicey. Christian Louboutin brought the court case on in 2008 following Zara's distribution of a $70 heel that boasted an apple-red sole. The Paris-based company believed it was the only shoe producer that had the right to push product with said bottom, as it is red in a specific context that only Louboutin's can use (according to the creator himself). Turns out, he was wrong.
While the end result of the case was not monetarily devastating to either company, Zara was able to trot away with not only $3,600, but allowance to place whatever color it so chooses on the underside of its shoes.
Christian Louboutin likely took the loss quite hard, as he has vigorously attempted to defend his high-end brand throughout the legal scuffle.
“Even in the food industry, Cadbury recently won a lawsuit against Nestlé for using purple packaging. All this proves that the colors play a part in a brand's identity. I'm not saying that red usually belongs to me — I repeat that this is about a precise red, used in a precise location,” Louboutin recently told the Daily Mail.
Zara is not the first to come up against Louboutin's colorful conundrum, but will likely end up being the last new case the company takes to court over the infamous sole as the ruling was made final last week. As Mr. Louboutin heads back to court to appeal a similar case against Yves Saint Laurent, it appears that ladies will no longer have to pay top dollar to portray the elegance his red soles are made to emanate, as countless companies now have the right to bear their candy apple soles.
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