Today’s Fashion Headlines. January 3, 2012

January 3, 2012 • Fashion, Fashion Blog

YSL and Louboutin still in court, Steve Madden snags Wild Pair and online shoppers beware of spirits

YSL and Louboutin Still Seeing Red

Lawyers for Yves Saint Laurent made a federal court of appeals deadline to file its response in the Christian Louboutin red-sole trademark appeal before yearend. The YSL attorneys filed their appellate brief on Tuesday. In the court document filed Tuesday, YSL argued that Louboutin cannot overcome the “formidable hurdle” necessary to obtain a reversal of the lower court’s denial of the request for a preliminary injunction. YSL said appellate review of the denial is based on an abuse of discretion, a deferential standard that shouldn’t be disturbed so long as it “falls within a range of permissible decisions.” It argued that functionality in trademark cases has long been treated as a question of fact reviewed under the clear error standard. YSL also cited a case in which a court determined that when there are two permissible views of the evidence, the fact finder’s “choice between them cannot be clearly erroneous.”

YSL also argued that there were other reasons why the lower court’s decision should be upheld, such as Louboutin’s inability to show “irreparable harm” and a failure to establish a secondary meaning for the red-colored trademark.

The dispute began in April, when Louboutin sued YSL in a New York federal court in Manhattan, claiming that YSL’s red pump violated its red-sole trademark. In August, the presiding judge denied Louboutin’s request for a preliminary injunction and instead questioned the validity of the trademark, which Louboutin obtained in 2008. District court Judge Victor Marrero concluded that no one designer should have a “monopoly” on any color. He also rejected Louboutin’s arguments that infringing on its trademark would cause “irreparable harm” and that YSL’s shoe caused “consumer confusion.”

Steve Madden Gets Wild

Steven Madden Ltd. continues to expand its portfolio. Bakers Footwear Group Inc. on Thursday announced that Steve Madden would purchase the Wild Pair trademark from Bakers for up to $4 million. The licensing deal calls for a non-exclusive, royalty free deal, where Bakers can continue to offer the branded footwear in its retail stores and online.

“We are pleased to once again expand our diversified portfolio of brands with the addition of Wild Pair,” Steve Madden CEO Ed Rosenfeld said in a statement. “We look forward to broadening the distribution and reach of the brand while maintaining the DNA that has made Wild Pair successful for almost 40 years.”

Things You Already Know: Shopping While Intoxicated

Shopping under the influence has long benefited high-end specialty retailers and now the popularity of Internet sales has opened alcohol-induced purchases to the masses. Online retailers, of course, can never be sure whether customers are inebriated when they tap the “checkout” icon. One comparison-shopping site, Kelkoo, said almost half the people it surveyed in Britain, where it is based, had shopped online after drinking.

But while reliable data is hard to come by, retailers say they have their suspicions based on anecdotal evidence and traffic patterns on their Web sites — and some are adjusting their promotions accordingly. A recent array of nighttime offers sent to a shopper’s e-mail inbox included: from 6 to 9 p.m., a limited-quantity sale on fashions at Neiman Marcus; at 7:38 p.m., a promotion for three-day stays at Loews hotels; at 8:44 p.m., a promotion by Gilt for macaroons and faux-fur blankets; and at 2:23 a.m., an offer by Saks for a $2,000 gift card with purchase.

“Post-bar, inhibitions can be impacted, and that can cause shopping, and hopefully healthy impulse buying,” said Andy Page, the president of Gilt Groupe, an online retailer that is adding more sales starting at 9 p.m. to respond to high traffic then — perhaps some of it by shoppers under the influence.

– Taneisha Jordan

Source: WWD; NYT
Photo: WWD

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