New Balance, the athletic shoe and apparel company based in Massachusetts, won a landmark victory in a trademark infringement case in China. Three Chinese shoemakers have been ordered by the Chinese IP Court in Beijing to pay 10 million yuan ($1.5 million US) to New Balance for infringing the slanted “N” logo. This appears to be in tune with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts to change the course of China with respect to infringements by Chinese companies of foreign IP rights.
People have asked me for the past three decades, “Why should I file patent and trademark applications in China; they just copy anyway.” To which I have always replied: “Are you satisfied that nothing will change in the next 20 years (for patents), or ever for trademarks?” The IP world is constantly adjusting and modifying itself to the times and this ruling is a sign of the potential changing attitudes in China about foreign-owned patent and trademark rights. Without establishing your IP rights in China, you have no chance whatsoever of stopping infringement, getting a damages award, or realizing license income in the future.
We will be watching to see if this is the beginning of a trend and will be here to guide you, and keep you up to date, in your foreign IP matters. For further information or questions give us a call 760-975-3843 or e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org
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