Tuesday, September 11

Louboutin Red Soles

There was a huge marketing victory reported yesterday in AdAge that all of us in the industry should be hugely excited about.

The victory surrounds Louboutin shoe's classic red sole design ... and the brand's ability to trademark it and protect it from other brands copying it.

The reason why this is so monumental is because "design elements" are rarely protectable, leaving lots of room open for other brands to knock it off. So even if you have a cool "design", it can often be easily replicated with no recourse.

Now there were limitations to the ruling, like if another brand has red shoes then it can use a red sole.  Fine.  Let's look at the bigger picture ... if I come up with something cool that defines the essence of the brand, I now have a shot at making sure that I can keep it.  Victory.

The hope here is that this will set the precedent that brands that have various "assets" can now protect other brands (and generic companies) from consciously replicating them to cause consumer confusion and switching.

All good.  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

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