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Chinese Shoe Brand Ordered to Pay $1.41m to New Balance for Unfair Competition

A local court in Shanghai on Thursday ordered a Chinese shoe brand to pay more than 10 million yuan ($1.41 million) to US shoemaker New Balance in damages and litigation costs for trademark infringement and unfair competition.


The Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court on Thursday ruled in favor of New Balance's Chinese sales company, which accused New Barlun of infringing on its signature slanting logo, the court said in a posting on its WeChat account.


The plaintiff claimed that New Barlun's mass production and sales of sports shoes bearing a similar logo infringed on New Balance's product packaging that has a "certain influence".


The Chinese sportswear firm, based in Quanzhou, East China's Fujian Province, according to the plaintiff, continued its unfair competition practices, resulting in lower product ratings and impairing New Balance's goodwill.


The plaintiff sued the accused demanding that it stop the unfair competition, post public announcements to eliminate the impact on reputation of the US shoe brand, and pay 30 million yuan in economic damages and ligation costs.


The first-instance court ruling was broadly in support of the plaintiff's requirements, except for the compensation amount.


The court said the plaintiff's actual losses and New Barlun's gains from its unfair competition could not be ascertained, but existing evidence showed the accuser's losses exceeded the statutory compensation limit of 5 million yuan. It ordered the Chinese shoemaker to pay 10 million yuan in damages plus 800,000 yuan in legal costs. 


It's not the first time the Boston-based shoe brand won a trademark infringement victory in China, as the nation continues its push for protection of intellectual property rights.


In August 2017, a court in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province handed down a ruling that three domestic firms infringed on New Balance's iconic logo and owed the US shoemaker a payout of more than 10 million yuan in compensation and legal costs.


Source: Global Times

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