Louboutin is so angry that other shoe designers have copied this feature that he is attempting to trademark his red soles in the US. If successful he may try to do the same in the UK. Retailers such as Asda (owned by Walmart) may be prevented from selling Louboutin lookalikes. The designer's attack was sparked by an outbreak of “Louboutin fever” (The Center for Disease Control report no fatalities as yet) that has seen a BMW advert featuring a woman snapping off the right heel of a red-soled pair of stilettos so she could go for a drive, and so on and so forth. A New York-based footwear brand oh...DEER! is trying to block Louboutin's move by filing an opposition with the US Trademark Office.
Louboutin first started to used the red sole in 1992 after applying red nail polish on a whim. "The shiny red colour of the soles has no function other than to identify to the public that the shoes are mine... It attracts men to the women who wear my shoes," he told the US Trademark Office (oh yes, we men really look at what shoes a woman is wearing before noticing other, more obvious, attributes). Susan Scafidi, a law professor who edits counterfeitchic.com, said Deer Stags' best hope of beating Louboutin would be to claim "aesthetic function" for their own soles in that the red matches other parts of their design.
When the not-wife saw the article she agreed with me that it was just another manifestation of the bullshittery that is the bedrock of the fashion industry. She pointed out that red heels and soles (or at least sole edges) were fashionable among the rich in the 17th century. This article at the truly fascinating website The Salacious Historian’s Lair confirms this,. I can quite understand, say Chanel trade marking its crossed C logo but red soles??? Then again there was an attempt some years ago to patent turmeric.
Perhaps Louboutin’s should look at litigation against Watermelon snow. Apparently walking on watermelon snow will often result in the walker getting bright red soles, for free (oh the horror).
Personally I think Louboutin was inspired by the humble Rickettsia, the tick borne bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. A red rash on the sole is a common symptom of this disease. There was heroin chic some years ago; Louboutin is surely the pioneer of disease chic.