New Balance loses China trademark case

GUANGZHOU, April 29 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese court has ordered an affiliate of U.S. sneaker maker New Balance to compensate a Chinese citizen 98 million yuan (16 mln U.S. dollars) for infringing his trademark rights.

The Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court in south China's Guangdong Province also ordered New Balance Trading (China) Co., Ltd. to stop using "Xin Bai Lun" to promote its products in China, the court told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The verdict, issued on April 24, said the New Balance affiliate sold its products in the Chinese market under the name "Xin Bai Lun," similar to the trademark "Bai Lun" registered by a man surnamed Zhou in 1996.

Zhou also registered "Xin Bai Lun" in 2011. New Balance failed to block the registration after raising an objection with the Chinese trademark authority.

The court defied the "necessity" argued by the U.S. company to use "Xin Bai Lun" instead of its registered trademark "New Balance" in China, as "Xin Bai Lun" is neither the translation or transliteration of "New Balance."

According to the court, the compensation amounted to half of the profits the defendant made during the period the infringement took place.

New Balance has not appealed the case so far.