《经济学人》:红底鞋之争
日期:2011-08-26 11:06

(单词翻译:单击)

Louboutin v YSL
红底鞋之争

Lay off my red-soled shoes
离我的红底鞋远点!

Can a colour be a trademark?
单一的颜色也能成为注册商标吗?

Aug 20th 2011 | from the print edition

APPEARING on “So You Think You Can Dance”, an American TV show, Jennifer Lopez starts her song “Louboutins” by lying sulkily in sheets of red silk on a bed in a giant sparkly shoe and making a phone call. “Hello, Santa,” she says, batting her eyelashes, “I would like a shiny new pair of Louboutin shoes. You know, the ones with the high heels and red bottoms.”

天后珍妮佛洛佩兹以一曲“Louboutins”亮相电视节目《舞林争霸》,开唱前, 台上一只巨大的闪闪发光的高跟鞋里放着一张床,床上铺着红丝绸,珍妮佛洛佩兹就气呼呼地躺在丝绸之上打电话:“喂,是圣诞老人嘛”她边说边眨了眨眼睛,“人家想要一双Louboutin的鞋子。你知道的,就是跟高高的,底红红的那种”。

In the 20 years since Christian Louboutin made his first pair of ladies’ shoes with shiny red-lacquered soles, his vertiginously heeled, sexy, colourful and nearly unwearable creations have become an object of desire for celebrities like Ms Lopez, Angelina Jolie and Madonna, who even lets her daughter Lourdes wear a metal-studded number. Today the puckish Frenchman is the biggest star in high-fashion shoe design, selling about 240,000 pairs a year in America at prices ranging from $395 for espadrilles to as much as $6,000 for a “super-platform” pump covered in crystals. The revenue of his company, Louboutin, is forecast at $135m this year.

20年前,Christian Louboutin设计出了第一双漆皮红底的高跟鞋。他的设计鞋跟多变,性感撩人,色彩艳丽,但几乎是没法穿着行走的,不过洛佩兹,安吉丽娜朱莉,麦当娜等一干名流还是趋之若鹜,麦当娜甚至还为女儿洛德斯买了一双带铆钉的Louboutin。今天,这个乖戾的法国男人已经是高级时装界炙手可热的大人物。Louboutin在美国市场一年卖出了24万双鞋,不管是395美元一双的帆布草编鞋,还是价值6000美元镶满水晶的浅口高跟鞋都受到热烈追捧,预计Louboutin公司今年的营业额将达到1,34亿美元左右。

Yet all this could be at risk, says Louboutin’s lawyer, if Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), another fashion firm, continues to gain the upper hand in a legal dispute between the two companies. On August 10th a district court in New York refused to grant a preliminary injunction stopping YSL from selling shoes with a red sole that Louboutin says infringe its trademark. The judge did not believe that a designer could trademark a colour. He asked both parties to appear again in court on August 19th to decide how to proceed with the case.

不过Louboutin 的律师表示,如果伊夫圣罗兰时装公司在双方法律纠纷中继续占上风的话,Louboutin的好景可能不长了。8月10日纽约区法庭拒绝下达初步处罚令,禁止伊夫圣罗兰销售红底鞋,因为Louboutin称其商标侵权。法官认为设计师不能把某种颜色当成一个商标。他通知被告原告双方于8月19日再次出庭,到时再判定这个案子。

“We don’t like it,” says Harley Lewin of McCarter & English, an American law firm which is representing Louboutin. The judge has overreached, according to Mr Lewin, by making this a case about the justification of Louboutin’s trademark rather than a ruling on a request for a temporary injunction prohibiting the sale of red-soled YSL shoes. He intends to appeal against the decision.

美国McCarter & English律师事务所负责代理Louboutin,事务所的律师Harley Lewin说:“对审判结果我们感到很失望”。他还表示法官判定这个案子仅仅围绕在Louboutin商标的合法性上,对于向伊夫圣罗兰下达临时处分命令,禁止其销售红底鞋的请求根本不予受理。他表示会对这个审判结果提起上诉。

Louboutin sued YSL alleging that several of its rival’s shoes infringed Louboutin’s trademark on women’s shoes with a red outsole, which was granted to the company in 2008 by America’s Patent and Trademark Office. Louboutin identifies the shade it uses as “Chinese red”, but argues that any confusingly similar shade would infringe the trademark. YSL’s offending shoes are red all over.

美国专利商标局于2008年批准红底鞋为Louboutin专利,于是Louboutin因为伊夫圣罗兰侵犯其商标权出售红底高跟鞋而将后者告上法庭。Louboutin将其使用的红色定义为“中国红”,并表示其他公司使用任何一种与之相似,造成混淆的红色也会构成商标侵权。而伊夫圣罗兰的侵权高跟鞋从头红到尾。

In denying the request for an injunction the judge said that in the fashion industry colour serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition, so Louboutin was unlikely to be able to prove that its brand was entitled to trademark protection. He acknowledged that courts had recognised the use of colour in trademarks in the fashion industry before, but only in patterns with multiple designs such as the Louis Vuitton logo or Burberry check. Trademarks have been given to single colours for industrial products, such as yellow for Post-it notes.

法官驳回了向伊夫圣罗兰下达禁令的请求,并说鉴于颜色在时尚界具有美观装饰的功能,以及对于竞争起到决定性的作用,,Louboutin难以证明红色鞋底应受到商标保护。他承认在这之前法院也认可过在时尚行业用颜色做商标,但是这些颜色必须和其他的设计元素搭配在一起,比如路易斯威登的标记或巴宝莉的格子图案。在工业产品中,某一种颜色也可以单独成为商标,比如便利贴就用黄色做商标。

Louboutin retorts that granting a trademark to one or several colours, such as Gucci’s stripes, is the same. Moreover, it maintains that Christian Louboutin was the first to use red outsoles. Not true, says its opponent, who claims that King Louis XIV had red-heeled dancing shoes in the 18th century and Dorothy danced in ruby slippers in “The Wizard of the Oz”.

Louboutin反驳道如可能认可几种颜色搭配在一起的商标,比如古琦的条纹图案,也应该认可单一颜色的商标。另外公司还坚持一点,Christian Louboutin是将红底运用到高跟鞋设计中的第一人。不过它的对手却表示并非如此。伊夫圣罗兰宣称早在十八世纪法国国王路易十四就拥有一双红跟舞鞋,多萝西也曾在电影《绿野仙踪》里穿着一双深红色的拖鞋翩翩起舞。

The judge has made up his mind that no fashion designer should be allowed a monopoly on colour because as artists they all need to be able to use the full palette. To make this point, he imagined Picasso taking Monet to court over the use of blue in his painting of water lilies, because it was the same or close to the distinctive shade of indigo, the “colour of melancholy” he used in his Blue Period. Moreover, unlike patent law, trademarks are never about granting monopolies, argues David Bernstein, a lawyer for YSL at Debevoise and Plimpton. Trademarks are merely the right to indicate the origin of a product or service.

法官似乎心意已决,他坚持认为时装设计师不可以用颜色来做专利,因为艺术家们要能利用调色板里的每一种颜色。为了说明这一点,他甚至做出一个假设:毕加索向莫奈宣称要将其告上法庭,因为莫奈在作品睡莲里使用了蓝色,这种蓝色和靛蓝色一样,或者相近,而靛蓝色正是毕加索的画作《忧郁的时光》里用来增加忧郁色彩的颜色。而且商标权与专利法不同,商标权从来和认可专利权没什么关系,伊夫圣罗兰的代理律师David Bernstein如是说道。所以商标权仅仅只是一权利,用来认定某种产品或机构的来源。

Susan Scafidi of Fordham University School of Law in New York says that the judge sidestepped the important question by boiling the argument down to aesthetic functionality. The true challenge of the case, says Ms Scafidi, is to determine when the use of colour on a portion of apparel is a design element and when it is a trademark. It will now be the job of an appeal court to rule on the matter. And if Louboutin loses again, the company says it will take its case all the way to the Supreme Court.

来自纽约福德姆法学院的Susan Scafidi表示,这位法官将这场争论归结到一个美观功能的问题上,实际上回避了很重要的一点。Susan Scafidi说这个案子真正的挑战是要确定红色是在何时作为一种设计元素出现在高跟鞋上,又是在何时红色成为一种商标的。这才应该是上诉法庭在决断这个案子时应该做的工作。如果Louboutin再次败诉,公司表示不会就此罢休,无论如何也要上诉到最高法院。

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重点单词
  • elementn. 元素,成分,组成部分,(复数)恶劣天气
  • merelyadv. 仅仅,只不过
  • paletten. 调色板,颜料
  • opponentn. 对手,敌手,反对者 adj. 敌对的,反对的
  • monopolyn. 垄断,专利,独占,控制
  • brandn. 商标,牌子,烙印,标记 vt. 打烙印,铭刻,加污
  • injunctionn. 指令,命令,强制令
  • determinev. 决定,决心,确定,测定
  • rivaln. 对手,同伴,竞争者 adj. 竞争的 v. 竞争,
  • trademarkn. 商标