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Champion, Counterfeits, China: What to Know About Hanesbrands’ Trademark Victory

Hanesbrands said Tuesday that it has received a favorable judgment from the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court in a trademark infringement case involving its Champion brand in China.

The case involved the production and distribution of counterfeit Champion products and the operation of unauthorized Champion retail outlets by six defendants. The defendants, Hurricane, Chengda, Rainbow Wing, Fuxun, Yunma and Wu Zhanghao, were ordered to immediately cease all infringement of the Champion brand. They were also ordered to pay fines totaling more than $600,000.

“The case marks a significant victory for the Champion brand,” Jon Ram, president of global activewear at Hanesbrands, said. “We will continue to aggressively defend our intellectual property in China and around the world.”

In July, Hanesbrands filed a lawsuit against Keds in Massachusetts federal court claiming the shoe maker infringed on its trademark and breached a licensing agreement between the two companies for Champion-branded footwear. Hanesbrands, which has owned the Champion brand since 2006, shares the company’s trademark with Keds in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada under a decades-old licensing agreement first reached in 1987.

Under the terms of the deal, Keds could market “casual street and play time shoes” in the U.S., Canada and Mexico using the Champion trademark, while Champion had permission to use the mark on athletic shoes.

“Keds has flatly refused to renegotiate, all the while continuing its improper ‘historic uses’ of the Champion trademark around the world and engaging in additional, unauthorized uses of that mark,” Hanesbrands wrote in court documents.

In the third quarter ended Sept. 26, the company reported global Champion net sales grew nearly 130 percent over the previous quarter. Excluding $103 million of C9 Champion sales in mass retail in the year-ago quarter, sales of the Champion brand showed an 85 percent increase over the second quarter, driven by strong point-of-sale trends and continued online growth, Hanes Brands reported.

Hanesbrands CEO Steve Bratspies said during the quarter the company “saw particularly strong performance in our U.S. innerwear and global Champion businesses.”

Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., Hanesbrands also sells its products under apparel brands that include Hanes, Maidenform, Bali, Playtex, Bras N Things, L’eggs, JMS/Just My Size, Lovable, Wonderbra and Gear for Sports. Hanesbrands has approximately 63,000 employees in more than 40 countries.