The AmeriKat has been watching the English public embrace the change of the season this week. On Friday she slinked outside for her midday patrol and perched on a bench in Gray's Inn, with the new Vogue in paw. (picture, left - the AmeriKat taking a much needed lunchtime Kat nap) Like spring flowers, once the temperature rises above a certain level the English bloom onto any stretch of grass available to them. A sea of students, solicitors, lawyers and miscellaneous office workers were scattered about in the sections of Gray's Inn grass that was unspoilt by any appearance of shade. Once modest workwear suits, worn by males and females alike, were stripped of any sweaters, cufflinks and buttons to expose as much square footage of skin as possible, laughter was echoing off the Inn's buildings, people were chatting with their neighbors, and a general feeling of calm settled throughout. The AmeriKat even spied some IP barristers from 11 South Square joining in on the emergence of spring. There is something about warmer weather in England that makes the general public a little less guarded than normal, in both physical appearance and mentality, which can only ever be welcome.
- The strength of the mark, i.e. the red soles - It is somewhat undeniable that Louboutin's red soles have indeed become well-recognized as a trade mark for his shoes in the market.
- The degree of similarity between the two marks - Identical - in so far as they are both red outersoles
- The proximity of the products and services - Identical - they are both shoes, being sold in the same stores, probably right next to or near each other
- The likelihood that the senior user will "bridge the gap" into the junior user's product service line - if there even is a 'gap' it is very likely because they are competitors
- Evidence of actual confusion between the marks - Always hard to come by, but perhaps Louboutin has some faithful customers who will be able to attest to some initial interest confusion?
- Whether the Yves Saint Laurent adopted the mark in good faith
- The quality of the Yves Saint Laurent's products - the AmeriKat would love to see Louboutin allege that YSL's products are of a lesser quality, but the fact that they are not and are side-by-side competitors actually makes it more difficult for YSL to squirm out of this one because there is more chance of there being actual, likely or initial-interest confusion.
- The sophistication of the parties customers -If someone is in the market for $400-$4,000 shoes, one would think you would pay particular attention in knowing what shoe and from whom you were buying, however again, initial interest confusion may be the savior in this confusion battle.
"The first issue is really, is mass digitization a national goal that Congress feels legislation is warranted for, and if so, for what beneficiaries."She also stated that
"It isn't that universal libraries aren't important, but there's a difference between universal libraries and universal bookstores."