August 14 2020— Distinction in fashion has long been an official trademark for luxury brands, think the Chanel tweed jacket, the orange packaging by Hermes, the red soles of a Louboutin shoe.
Valentino’s Rockstud pump is an instantly recognizable product to even the average fashion follower, but the Italian luxury company has been unable to trademark the design in the U.S.
In a recent filing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Valentino claims the design of its Rockstud pump – the iconic T-bar, bejeweled high-heeled sandal – functions as protectable trade dress that should be registered.
According to The Fashion Law, Valentino says its shoe has sold out each year since it launched ten years ago, generating over 152 million dollars in sales between 2014 and 2019. It has also “been a mainstay on store shelves for over a decade,” plus served as the subject of “extensive third-party press and unsolicited media coverage” after being photographed on “countless celebrities.”
Earlier this year the USPTO issued a decision against registering the Rockstud design, or the “three-dimensional configuration of a shoe with a single ankle strap and T-strap and collar, which are adorned with pyramid shaped studs.”
Valentino responded the style had “acquired distinctiveness,” to which the USPTO said that “consumers will perceive [the design of the studs] only as an ornamental and nondistinctive feature of the goods.”
As part of its case Valentino referred to the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent lawsuit in 2012, reports Footwear News. “Counsel for Valentino said that Louboutin had ‘demonstrated evidence that the public associated the lacquered red sole of its shoes with Louboutin’ based on advertising costs, media coverage, the style’s sales and other evidence. Such evidence ‘demonstrated both that Louboutin has created a symbol and that the symbol has gained secondary meaning that causes it to be ‘uniquely’ associated with the Louboutin brand,” Valentino said, and the same should hold true for its Rockstud pump.”
The saga to trademark its studded shoe continues.
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