A Chinese court has awarded New Balance 25 million yuan ($3.9 million) in damages in a case brought by the American sportswear brand against two local companies, according to a report in The Financial Times.
The compensation accorded by the Shanghai Huangpu District Court is reportedly among the largest ever awarded to a foreign brand in a Chinese trademark battle against local copyright infringers.
Local news media in China have framed the decision as significant in its timing, in particular, because Beijing and Washington could be looking to reset their relationship, which has become increasingly fraught in recent years. Intellectual property has been a major issue in trade tension between the world’s two largest economies.
The two defendants, Fujian-based footwear maker New Barlun and its distributor Shanghai Shiyi Trade, have expanded quickly in China’s smaller cities, selling knock-off New Balance goods bearing a capital “N” symbol similar to that appearing on genuine New Balance shoes at less than half the price.