New Balance Awarded $3.85 Million Following New Barlun Copycat Trademark Case
What’s the letter ‘N’ worth? According to a Chinese court, about $3.85 million. New Barlun and Shanghai Shiyi Trade Co Ltd are liable for damages to that sum after continued trademark infringement of New Balance’s instantly recognisable ‘N’ logo.
The Shanghai Huangpu District Court ruled on January 5 that New Barlun’s continued production and distribution of footwear bearing the ‘N’ logo – despite having already received an injunction to stop doing so – allowed the copycat company to unfairly profit from perceived association with New Balance’s well-regarded trademark.
New Barlun have gained infamy over the years for their blatant resemblance to distinct New Balance designs, particularly the near like-for-like usage of a large ‘N’ logo on the side of their shoes. Last year, New Barlun paid New Balance $1.5 million after it was ruled the latter’s brand image was being hurt with false associations to low-quality product.
This ruling marks one of the largest payments awarded in Chinese intellectual property lawsuit history in the sports sector. Speaking on the outcome of the court case, senior counsel of intellectual property and global brand protection at New Balance, Dan McKinnon said, ‘It is very encouraging that the Court has once again recognised the legitimacy of New Balance’s IP rights which will help ensure that our brand is safeguarded and protect our consumers’ interests.’