9 February 2021TrademarksAlex Baldwin

New Balance celebrates £2.8m win against Chinese copycat

American sportswear company New Balance has won a significant case against one of China’s most notorious copycat brands.

New Barlun was ordered to pay RMB25 million (£2.83 million) in damages to New Balance for trademark infringement by the Shanghai Huangpu District Court on January 5.

This compensation represents one of the largest sums awarded to an IP owner in the sportswear sector at a Chinese court.

New Barlun had registered a trademark for its own ‘N’ logo prior to New Balance seeking legal action, meaning New Balance had to invalidate the trademark and prove bad faith to win the case.

The court ruled that New Barlun and fellow defendant Shanghai Shiyi’s manufacturing and distribution of shoes marked with their ‘N’ logo constituted an infringement against New Balance’s trademark rights. They were also ruled to have acted in bad faith after failing to cease infringement despite the court issuing an interim injunction order.

Carol Wang, principal and head of the Shanghai litigation group at Rouse, which represented New Balance, said: “Larger fines levied towards infringing companies show a very positive trend for the protection of brand owner’s rights in China. Cases like this are sending a clear message that China is cracking down on infringement.

“With the large public profile of this case, hopefully we will see the verdict influence other fair judges and jurisdictions going forward.”

The court also found that the distributor Shanghai Lusha should also be held jointly liable for RMB 100,000 (£11,300). The junction has not yet taken effect, giving the defendants the right to appeal.

Dan Mckinnon, senior counsel, intellectual property and global brand protection at New Balance, said: “It is very encouraging that the court has once again recognised the legitimacy of New Balance’s IP rights which will help ensure that our brand is safeguarded and protect our consumers’ interests.”

New Balance’s litigation counsel was Chinese law firm Lusheng which has acted for the company throughout its civil claim against New Barlun.

This ruling is the latest in a long-standing legal dispute between New Balance and New Barlun. In 2019 New Balance secured RMB 10.8 million (£1.24 million) in damages from the company as ordered by Shanghai Pudong District Court for a similar infringement.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories sent like this straight to your inbox

Today’s top stories

Slight increase in barrister diversity for 2020: report

How to win over the C-suite

Biden signals antitrust stance in curtails to M&A

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

14 May 2021   A damages win for New Balance offers a warning of things to come for China’s infringers, reports Alex Baldwin.
24 August 2017   Footwear manufacturer New Balance has won a significant trademark payout in China, after a court awarded the US company more than RMB 10 million ($1.5 million) in damages.
23 March 2021   As China continues to expand its international business ventures and collaborations, it has undertaken the heavy task of completely reforming its IP protection rights.