Five shoe manufacturers and sellers were ordered to pay the state $250,000 for using the U.S. shoemaker’s slanting “N” logo.
BEIJING — New Balance has won a rare legal victory in China in an intellectual- property dispute: A court has ordered five shoe manufacturers and sellers to pay the state $250,000 for using the U.S. shoemaker’s signature slanting “N” logo.
In previous years, the company has battled legions of counterfeit manufacturers, taken on a rogue supplier who exported its shoes at a deep discount and, most recently, struggled in court to win the use of its Chinese name.
In a preliminary decision, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court fined the five companies for breaching an injunction issued in September barring them from selling shoes with the logo, according to a report in China Intellectual Property Magazine. The $250,000 in fines will go to the state.
The court will issue its final judgment at the end of May, at which time New Balance could get damages.
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Amy Dow, New Balance’s senior global corporate communications manager, confirmed the penalty, saying the brand used by all five was called New Boom.
Dow said New Balance sued under China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law because the country’s trademark laws “currently provide slight loopholes for these brands to exist.”
Trademark lawyers said companies rarely obtain preliminary injunctions in China, making this case an unusual one.
Douglas Clark, an intellectual-property lawyer who has practiced in Greater China for the last 25 years, said he could not recall a Chinese court imposing such a substantial fine for breaching a preliminary injunction. “It’s extremely significant because until now, defendants have very commonly in China just ignored court orders.”