May 9, 2017
Sports shoe manufacturer New Balance has won a rare legal victory in China in a counterfeiting case.
Five shoe manufacturers and vendors have been ordered to pay a fine of 250,000 USD for copying the U.S. company’s slanting N logo.
Litigation in China is nothing new for New Balance who most recently took legal action to win the right to use its company name in Chinese characters.
According to a report in China Intellectual Property Magazine, the Court of Suzhou, in a preliminary ruling, handed down a fine of 250 000 USD to the five companies for breaching an injunction issued in September which barred them from selling shoes bearing the New Balance logo. The fines will go to the state.
The court will issue a final ruling at the end of May 2017.
A spokesperson for New Balance confirmed that the company had taken legal action under China’s Anti-Unfair Competition law in order to avoid a loophole in the country’s trademark legislation which enables counterfeiters to escape sanctions by using slightly amended versions of the brand name that they are copying. In the present case, the five companies used New Boom instead of the New Balance brand on the counterfeit goods.
Trademark lawyers have said that the ruling is significant as preliminary injunctions are rarely awarded in China.