Posted on Monday 25 September 2017 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property
Global athletic footwear company New Balance recently hit headlines after winning damages of $1,500,000 in a trademark dispute against three Chinese shoemakers.
New Balance are not the first company to pursue legal proceedings against a Chinese company. A quick online search will soon result in numerous articles about multi-nationals in legal battles to protect their brands in China. While the idea of counterfeiting is certainly not a new phenomenon and is one which happens globally, it is evident that China appears to be one of the main nations continuously identified in counterfeit cases.
What are China doing about it?
In the last number of years, China has taken many steps to improve trade mark protection, change negative perceptions and enhance their IP systems. New trade mark laws brought into effect in May 2014, introduced tougher punishment for those found engaging in repeated infringement activity and those involved in filing trade mark applications in ‘bad faith.’ Since its enactment in 2014, three Intellectual Property Courts were established in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to further tackle the problem.
Similarly, in January of this year, China’s State Council released its new Five-Year plan on the protection and application of intellectual property rights, with the goal of strengthening their IP system and establish better rules and regulations.
The recent ruling for New Balance is a distinct example of these new changes in operation. Carol Wang, who represented New Balance during this legal case, stated:
“Although this decision is still rare, it sends a strong and powerful message that should make it easier for foreign brands doing business here.”
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