The American shoe company New Balance won its China New Barlun case after years of struggle. The court ordered New Barlun Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Shiyi Trade Co. Ltd., which have been active in the sportswear industry in China for years to pay $3.85 million to New Balance.
The Shanghai Huangpu District Court ruled that the sneakers from New Barlun and Shiyi companies manufactured and sold under a stylized “N” logo are noticeably similar to New Balance shoes visually and conceptually, leading to a brand violation.
The Court also acknowledged that New Barlun is one of the most aggressive counterfeit brands in the field of sportswear, generating significant income from the counterfeit products it produces and undermining the reputation of New Balance’s “N” brand.
Defendant companies continued to manufacture and sell counterfeit shoes in a malicious manner during the course of the trial despite a precautionary injunction. As a result of the court case, the counterfeit distributor of the company Shanghai Lusha Fashion Co. was held jointly responsible for the violation and fined $15,000.
This New Balance victory is not the first. In April 2020, the company had achieved success against the New Barlun brand in a separate unfair competition case. The company’s introduction of the stylized “N” logo imitations in a commercial manner and positioning the “N” logo on shoes in a certain format resembling the American New Balance company’s use was considered unfair competition regardless of the trademark registration on behalf of New Barlun.
Thus, New Balance’s 16-year struggle against this counterfeit resulted in great success.
The case has resulted in one of the highest compensations awarded to a trademark holder in the sportswear market in China to date.