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New Balance wins trademark lawsuit against Qiuzhi

30
Aug '06
Global athletic footwear leader New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc announced that it had won a significant trademark infringement lawsuit in China against Chinese footwear maker Qiuzhi Footwear. The court awarded New Balance a monetary award of 600,000 RMB (USD $75,000) and ordered Qiuzhi to stop producing its “New Barlun” athletic shoes.

“Billions of dollars worth of counterfeit brand-name goods are discovered annually around the world, most of them originating in China,” says Ed Haddad, vice president of Intellectual Property and Licensing at New Balance. “Brand owners must be vigilant against those who would capitalize on their goodwill and brand reputation. We applaud the Court's actions as a tremendous breakthrough in IP protection in China.”

In 2002, New Balance discovered a group advertising itself as “American New Barlun (Hong Kong) Limited” conducting business in China and promoting a relationship with the “American New Balance” company. New Barlun (which when spoken quickly sounds much like New Balance) had acquired trademarks which were similar to those of New Balance and combined them with packaging, advertising, and slogans also similar to the brand. New Barlun began selling franchises and opening retail stores throughout China. New Balance took immediate action, working with China's Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) with limited success.

In 2003, New Balance discovered that New Barlun was a front established in Hong Kong by a Chinese company called Qiuzhi Footwear. New Balance then sued Qiuzhi in the court of Hangzhou. Harley Lewin, of Greenberg Traurig LLP, coordinated the legal battle on behalf of New Balance.


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