New Balance’s signature slanting ‘N’ won the company $1.5 million after a Chinese court ruled that three domestic shoemakers pay the company for infringing on the brand’s signature logo, according to a Reuters report.
The money ordered by the court in retribution is one of the highest sums to be given to a foreign company in a Chinese trademark dispute.
The three Chinese defendants who lost the infringement case, Zheng Chaozhong, Xin Ping Heng Sporting Goods Limited Company and Bo Si Da Ke Trading Limited have yet to comment on the matter.
“The winning of this case has given us confidence to continue our proactive brand protection strategy in China,” Angela Shi, brand protection manager of New Balance, said in a statement to Reuters.
The ruling comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to revamp efforts to crack down on intellectual property rule-breakers last month. Meanwhile, Trump recently allowed an inquiry into China’s IP practices during a time where suspected IP theft in the nation could be as high as $600 billion, according to Reuters.
New Balance made its Chinese debut in 2003 and has more than 2,000 stores in the country. The brand has seen other litigation over trademark issues in mainland China, where apparently hundreds of trademarks in various forms of the ‘N’ logo are registered, according to the report.
Last year, New Balance lost when a Chinese court ruled against the American company for trademark infringements and ruled that the company pay 5 million yuan to a local company.
Chinese courts have previously ruled in favor of local companies in similar cases as they assess the situation from a local standopoint, including local stability and employment, Wang Xiang, a Beijing-based lawyer at Orrick herrington & Sutcliffe told Reuters.