Recent trademark wins for athletic companies show an improvement in how China is handling trademark infringement cases presented in Chinese courts, a jurisdiction that traditionally has not favored foreign trademark owners, reports Law360. In a ruling issued Aug. 17, New Balance was awarded $1.5 million in damages against companies it sued for infringement of the brand’s “NB” logo.
Despite this amount being significantly less than what New Balance may have been awarded by a U.S. court, San Francisco Intellectual Property special counsel Robert Burlingame says this is still an unusually large amount to be awarded by a Chinese court.
“Under China’s previous laws, the amounts of the monetary awards in trademark infringement cases were extremely low, doing little to dissuade infringers,” Burlingame told Law360, “but under the new laws that China passed just a few years ago, certain caps were raised, and the damages awards have been increasing.”
In conjunction with a recent $300,000 ruling in favor of Under Armour against similar entities, Law360 reports that China could be turning away from its previous patterns of slow proceedings, low damages and inconsistent results.
“I believe, and I hope, that this is not an anomaly,” said Burlingame, “but rather a sign of broader progress by the Chinese court system on trademark enforcement.”
Read more about China’s progress in punishing trademark infringers in Law360 (subscription required).