New Balance Trade Mark Victory in China

Obtaining trade mark protection in China is widely viewed with a large dose of scepticism as to whether they actually provide an effective and enforceable right. There is plenty of evidence demonstrating that counterfeit products are openly sold in China and it is relatively difficult for foreign companies to take action against this.

However, the intellectual property system is in its infancy in China and the country is taking steps to tighten its laws and tackle infringement. This has been shown in a recent case in which the sports apparel manufacturer New Balance took action in China against three local shoemakers.  The Chinese court held that the trade marks of New Balance had been infringed and awarded it damages of 10 million yuan (approximately £1.2 million).

This appears to be the highest award of damages made to a foreign company by the Chinese courts for a trade mark dispute. It serves as a clear indication that China is developing its legal system to help the owners of intellectual property rights.  However, in order to enforce intellectual property rights in China they must be registered.

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