New Balance have won a landmark lawsuit against Chinese counterfeiters. The New York Times reports that a ruling by a Suzhou court found that three companies making sneakers under the name New Boom had ‘drastically damaged the business reputation of New Balance’ and infringed on their market share. New Balance were awarded $1.5 million in damages, a paltry amount by Western commercial standards but an unprecedented sum for a Chinese court to give a foreign company.
To put this into perspective, New Balance once tried to reclaim intellectual property from a man using their Chinese name and were themselves fined $16 million. The amount was later reduced to $700k, but still – there's no denying that it's hard for brands to tackle knock-offs.
The win comes after a slew of similar successes for New Balance. They’ve won out over companies making shoes under the name New Bunren, and the Suzhou court has also fined a further five companies for using New Balance’s ‘N’ logo.
In a statement regarding the aggressive protection of their trademarks, New Balance’s senior counsel for intellectual property, Daniel McKinnon, said that ‘if the China marketplace can be thought of as a schoolyard, New Balance wants to make it abundantly clear we are the wrong kid to pick on.’
Get 'em NB.