您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 商业 >> 正文


更新时间:2017-8-24 10:12:30 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

New Balance Wins $1.5 Million in Landmark China Trademark Case

BEIJING — A Chinese court has ruled that three domestic shoemakers must pay New Balance $1.5 million in damages and legal costs for infringing the American sportswear company’s signature slanting “N” logo, in what lawyers said was the largest trademark infringement award ever granted to a foreign business in China.

北京——中国一家法院裁定,三家国内的鞋商必须支付新百伦(New Balance)150万美元的侵权赔偿金和法律费用,因为它们侵犯这家美国运动服饰公司知名的倾斜“N”标识。律师表示,这是在华外国企业迄今为止获得的最大一笔商标侵权赔偿金。

It is a victory not just for New Balance, but also for many other foreign companies that have long complained that Beijing has not done enough to protect their brands. And while the size of the ruling was relatively small by international standards, it was nevertheless a substantial increase compared with previous penalties.


“I haven’t heard of a foreign company getting this level of damages,” said Douglas Clark, an intellectual property lawyer who has practiced in China and Hong Kong for the last 25 years.

“之前我没有听说过有哪家外国公司获得过这个水平的侵权赔偿,”在中国和香港当了近25年知识产权律师的道格拉斯·克拉克(Douglas Clark)说。

In the decision, the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court, near Shanghai, ruled that three defendants that made shoes under the brand New Boom “seized market share from New Balance” and “drastically damaged the business reputation of New Balance,” according to a copy of the decision, which was sent to The New York Times by the American company.

根据这家美国企业给《纽约时报》的裁决书副本,上海附近的苏州中级人民法院在裁决书中说,三名被告以New Boom的品牌制造鞋子,“抢占New Balance运动鞋的市场份额”,“对新百伦公司商誉的损害极大”。

The court said the three defendants behind New Boom — Zheng Chaozhong, Xin Ping Heng Sporting Goods Limited Company and Bo Si Da Ke Trading Limited — had relied on the “malice of free-riding,” saying their actions led to “confusion by a large number of consumers,” according to the ruling, which was made last Tuesday but has not yet been made public. The decision can still be appealed.

法院周二做出了裁决,但尚未公开。裁决书说,New Boom案的三名被告——郑朝忠、新平衡运动体育用品有限公司和博斯达克贸易有限公司——“主观上具有搭便车的恶意”,“迷惑了很多消费者”。这个裁决仍然可以上诉。

The court ruling reflects the Chinese government’s determination to confront the problem of piracy, which has long plagued many companies in a country where fake shoes, bags — and even meat — are widely available.


But many counterfeiters have moved beyond just making knockoffs to copying everything about a brand, short of the entire name. In New Balance’s case, the American company faces challenges from New Boom, New Barlun, and New Bunren, all of which are protected under China’s trademark law. (In China, trademarks are awarded to the first company to file for them, and unlike in the United States, businesses typically don’t have to give a reason for filing for them.)

但是,很多造假者已经不仅仅是制造仿冒品,还除完整的名字外完全照搬原产品。在新百伦这个案子中,美国公司面临着New Boom、New Barlun和New Bunren的挑战,它们都受到中国商标法的保护(在中国,商标被授予第一家提交申请的公司,企业通常也不需要提供申请商标的理由,这和美国不一样)。

New Balance, though, has sought to take all of them on. Since it started selling shoes in China in 1995, it has fought against dozens of counterfeit manufacturers, battled a rogue supplier who exported its shoes at a deep discount and struggled over the use of its Chinese name in the courts.


It has not been wholly successful — in April 2015, a Chinese court fined New Balance around $16 million after it lost a lawsuit to a man who had registered the trademark for the Chinese name of New Balance. The American company appealed and the fine was later reduced to about $700,000. New Balance is appealing the decision, which would go to China’s Supreme Court, according to Daniel McKinnon, New Balance’s senior counsel for intellectual property.

也不是每次都取得了胜利。在2015年4月,一家中国法院裁决一名注册了“新百伦”中文商标的男子胜诉,新百伦需赔偿他1600万美元。新百伦提起上诉,罚金后来降至70万美元左右。该公司的高级法律顾问丹尼尔·麦金农(Daniel McKinnon)称,新百伦继续上诉,这个案子可能会打到中国的最高法院。

Still, the company is making progress.


In April, a court in the eastern city of Hangzhou awarded New Balance $500,000 in damages after ruling that a company that made New Bunren shoes infringed the American company’s trademark. That same month, the Suzhou court fined five companies for breaching an injunction prohibiting them from selling shoes with the “N” logo. New Balance is also suing New Barlun, Mr. McKinnon added.

今年4月,中国东部城市杭州的一所法院裁决,一家制造New Bunren鞋子的公司侵犯了新百伦商标权,需赔偿50万美元。同月,苏州法院裁决五家公司违反了不准它们销售带“N”标识鞋子的禁令。麦金农说,新百伦还起诉了New Barlun。

Last week’s ruling has given the company “a renewed confidence in our aggressive intellectual-property protection strategy within China,” he said.


“By analogy, if the China marketplace can be thought of as a schoolyard, New Balance wants to make it abundantly clear we are the wrong kid to pick on,” Mr. McKinnon said in an emailed response to questions.


The $1.5 million ruling is a product of new legislation in China. Before the country passed a new trademark law in 2014, damages awarded in the vast majority of infringement cases were paltry, coming in below the maximum statutory amount of about $75,000. The new law increased that to about $450,000, making the New Balance award particularly significant.


As Chinese companies have begun producing more advanced products and gaining valuable intellectual property of their own, Beijing has sought to bolster its trademark law, increasing the damages awarded to companies in infringement cases and fining counterfeiters.


Chinese law does not follow precedent, but courts around the country do look to decisions nationwide for cues. As a result, Scott Palmer, an intellectual property lawyer at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, which represents American corporations in China, said the New Balance ruling bodes well for a number of cases that he has before the courts.

中国法律并不以之前的判例为准,但各地的法院确实会参考国内之前的裁决。在中国代理美国企业的美国盛智律师事务所(Sheppard, Mullin, Richter& Hampton)知识产权律师彭明(Scott Palmer)说,因此,对他手上的一些案子来说,新百伦的这个裁决是个好兆头。

“I don’t think this is a one-off,” Mr. Palmer said. “This is a fairly high-profile case, but I think that it falls squarely within a trend, in which the direction is more toward more significant damage awards when indeed it is warranted.”