The summary goes like this: Louboutin filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, which would prevent Yves Saint Laurent from selling any shoes with red soles until the lawsuit is finished. To win on this motion, they had to prove "likelihood of success on the merits," which in layman's speech means "do you have a shot at winning this thing?" The District Court Judge thought not. He was not wild about color as a trademark, and essentially felt that red soles are ornamental and aesthetic, and thus not protectable by trademark. As a result, he denied Louboutin's motion, believing that they would not be able to prove success on the merits of the claim.
No shock, Louboutin appealed. Now the Second Circuit has ruled Here is the full opinion, if you are so inclined. They ruled that a single color can be used as a trademark in the fashion industry. This is a huge -- and I believe correct -- decision. There is no reason why color as a trademark should be treated differently in the fashion industry than in any other industry. Also, this:
We further conclude that Louboutin’s trademark, consisting of a red, lacquered outsole on a high fashion woman’s shoe, has acquired limited “secondary meaning” as a distinctive symbol that identifies the Louboutin brand.Absolutely correct. Sometimes the courts do get it right.
However, it doesn't mean that Louboutin is a big winner. The Second Circuit also held that because Louboutin's trademark covers only a red sole that contrasts with the shoe's body, YSL can keep selling its entirely red shoes. (Remember what I said about the Louboutin trademarks being surprisingly weak? Yeah, here's where it comes back to bite them.)
So, both sides are claiming victory, and you can likely expect to see a settlement very soon.