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新百伦商标维权案在中国赢得罕见胜利

更新时间:2017-4-30 11:01:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

New Balance Court Ruling in China Is Rare Win Against Piracy
新百伦商标维权案在中国赢得罕见胜利

BEIJING — New Balance has won a rare legal victory in China in an intellectual property dispute: A court has ordered five shoe manufacturers and sellers to pay the state $250,000 for using the American shoemaker’s signature slanting “N” logo.

北京——新百伦(New Balance)在中国的一场知识产权纠纷中罕见地赢得了法律胜利:法院已命令五家制鞋厂和售鞋商向政府支付相当于25万美元的罚款,因为它们使用了这家美国制鞋公司的斜体N识别标志。

In previous years, the company has battled legions of counterfeit manufacturers, taken on a rogue supplier who exported its shoes at a deep discount and, most recently, struggled in court to win the use of its Chinese name.

新百伦在过去几年里已与一大批冒牌制造商发生争执,还与一家以非常大的折扣出口新百伦牌鞋子的无赖供应商进行过较量,并且最近一直在为赢回自己的中文商标打官司。

In a preliminary decision, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court on Monday fined the five companies for breaching an injunction issued in September prohibiting them from selling shoes with the logo, according to a report in China Intellectual Property Magazine. The $250,000 in fines will go to the state. The court will issue its final judgment at the end of May, at which time New Balance could get damages.

据《中国知识产权》杂志报道,苏州中级人民法院周一作出初步判决,对这五家公司进行了罚款,因为它们违反去年9月发布的禁止它们用斜体N标志出售鞋子的命令。这笔25万美元的罚款将纳入国库。该法院将在5月底宣布最终判决,届时新百伦可能会得到损害赔偿。

Amy Dow, New Balance’s senior global corporate communications manager, confirmed the penalty, saying the brand used by all five was called New Boom.

新百伦负责企业全球交流的高级经理艾米·道(Amy Dow)证实了罚款,她说,这五家公司用的牌子都是New Boom。

Ms. Dow said New Balance sued under China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law because the country’s trademark laws “currently provide slight loopholes for these brands to exist.”

艾米·道表示,新百伦根据中国的反不正当竞争法提起诉讼,因为中国的商标法“目前为这些牌子提供了一些小漏洞”。

“These actions are significantly more costly than traditional counterfeit enforcement measures, but New Balance believes strongly in the protection of our intellectual property,” she said.

“这些行动比传统的假冒执法措施的成本高得多,但新百伦对保护自己的知识产权坚信无疑,”她说。

The case offers a high-profile example of how doing business in China can feel like a Wild West shootout.

这个案子是个典型的例子,它表明在中国做生意有时就像是西部大片中的一场你死我活的枪战。

For years, foreign brands have been battling low-quality manufacturers that churn out cheap copies of everything from iPhones to Louis Vuitton bags. But piracy in China, the world’s second-largest economy, has a new twist: Manufacturers copy everything about a product but with a slight modification of the brand name.

多年来,外国品牌一直在与低质量的中国制造商作战,这些厂商制造了大批的廉价山寨产品,从iPhone手机到路易威登(Louis Vuitton)手袋无所不有。但盗版行业在作为世界第二大经济体的中国有一个新的招数:虽然制造商山寨产品的所有方面,但却对品牌名称稍作改变。

For New Balance, that meant consumers ran into New Boom, New Barlun, and New Bunren — brands that are protected under China’s trademark law.

对新百伦来说,这意味着消费者会遇到New Boom、New Barlun和New Bunren等品牌,它们都受到中国商标法的保护。

“Parasite brands are fast becoming the scariest form of ‘counterfeit’ within China,” Ms. Dow said in an emailed response.

艾米·道在一封回答记者提问的电子邮件中写道:“寄生品牌正迅速成为中国境内最可怕的‘假冒’形式。”

Ms. Dow said another Chinese court had awarded New Balance $550,000 this month in a judgment against companies making New Bunren brand shoes. Separately, New Balance has an outstanding case against manufacturers using the brand New Barlun.

艾米·道说,另外一家中国法院本月在一项裁决中,判处制造New Bunren牌鞋子的公司支付给新百伦55万美元的赔偿。另外,新百伦也在起诉使用New Barlun牌子的制造商。

In China, trademarks are generally awarded to those who first file paperwork with the government. That has given rise to a crush of people registering the names of well-known brands, a practice known as “trademark squatting.” Unlike in the United States, people who file for the trademarks do not have to give a reason for their application.

在中国,商标通常被授予首先向政府提交申请的人。这导致人们争先注册知名品牌的商标,这种做法被称为“商标占位”。与美国不同,在中国提交商标申请的人不必给出申请的理由。

Many Western companies, like Apple and Starbucks, and celebrities, including President Trump, have been caught up in long legal battles over the right to use their names in China.

许多西方公司,比如苹果和星巴克,以及包括特朗普总统在内的名人,都在中国使用自己名称的权利上陷入长期法律斗争的困境。

Trademark lawyers said companies rarely obtain preliminary injunctions in China, making this case an unusual one.

商标律师说,很少有公司能在中国打赢临时禁令的案子,这使新百伦案很不寻常。

Douglas Clark, an intellectual property lawyer who has practiced in Greater China for the last 25 years, said he could not recall a Chinese court imposing such a substantial fine for breaching a preliminary injunction.

在过去25年里一直在大中华地区从事知识产权业务的律师道格拉斯·克拉克(Douglas Clark)说,他想不起来有过中国法院对违反临时禁令的行为处以这么高罚款的案例。

“It’s extremely significant because until now, defendants have very commonly in China just ignored court orders,” Mr. Clark said. “This is sending a message that if you don’t obey them, you will get into trouble.”

“这个案子非常重要,因为到目前为止,中国的被告通常采取忽视法院命令的做法,”克拉克说。“这个案子传递了一个信息,如果你不服从禁令,你会遇到麻烦。”

Guizeng Wayne Liu, a senior partner at Yuanhe Partners, said Monday’s decision underlined China’s willingness to protect intellectual property rights.

元合律师事务所资深合伙人刘贵增说,周一的判决体现了中国保护知识产权的意愿。

“This is a good sign for New Balance in future trial cases,” Mr. Liu added.

“这在以后要审理的案件上对新百伦来说是个好兆头,”刘贵增补充道。

Trademark lawyers say Beijing has started taking intellectual property rights seriously because Chinese companies now have valuable intellectual property to protect.

商标律师说,北京已经开始认真对待知识产权问题,因为中国企业现在也拥有宝贵的知识产权需要保护。

Charles Feng, head of the intellectual property division at the law firm East & Concord Partners, said the injunction was particularly important because Chinese courts typically don’t award much in the way of damages in trademark infringement cases. An injunction helps them minimize the losses from trademark infringement, Mr. Feng said.

北京天达共和律师事务所知识产权部门负责人冯超表示,这个禁令特别重要,因为中国法院通常不会对商标侵权案件造成的损害判处赔偿。冯超说,禁令能帮助他们尽量减少商标侵权损失。

He cited statistics from the Chinese courts that show that in the past 10 years, only 5 to 10 percent of companies that applied for preliminary injunctions obtained them.

他引用中国法院的统计数字说,过去10年来,申请预先禁令的公司中只有5%至10%成功。

The decision comes 10 months after a Chinese court upheld an earlier ruling that New Balance’s Chinese trademark had infringed the rights of a businessman who had registered it first. The court ordered the company to pay the businessman $730,000, reducing the fine from $14 million.

10个月前,中国法院维持了原来的一项裁定:新百伦的中文商标侵犯了首先注册该商标的商人的权利。法院当时命令新百伦向这名商人支付73万美元,而原先判决的罚款金额是1400万美元。

Edward Lehman, from Lehman, Lee and Xu, one of China’s top law firms, said the punishment in this week’s case implied that the courts had monitored the enforcement of the injunction. That was a good sign, he said, but much is left to be done.

爱德华·雷曼(Edward Lehman)来自中国顶尖律所雷曼律师事务所,他说,本周这个案件中的判罚意味着法院监督了禁令的执行。他说这是一个好兆头,但仍然还有很多事情要做。

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