Balancing IP rights

In China well known sports brand New Balance is suing the local Niubanlun Sportswear Company for using their trademarked “N” on shoes. Niubanlun states – of course – that they have a legitimate registered trademark.

The Chinese name of New Balance is Xinbailun, a combination of the direct translation of “xin”, meaning new, and “bailun” being a transliteration of balance. This is very similar to Niubanlun.

New Balance is seeking damages of $78.000,- and summons Niubanlun to destroy its stock and to cease selling their products goods.

Niubanlun has been using its former Chinese brand name that had been widely known on the Chinese market since 1995. While New Balance started using a new Chinese brand name in 2003, it still used the former name on packaging in China until 2006. But Niubanlun said the Chinese brand name was not registered by New Balance and could be used without infringement risk.

MarkMatters.com is watching this matter closely to see which way the scale is going to tip. Speaking about balance…

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