US sportswear firm, New Balance, has been awarded damages in excess of 10 million yuan (roughly £1.2m) by a Chinese court in relation to infringement of its famous “N” logo.
The award follows systematic steps taken by Chinese authorities to strengthen national intellectual property laws.
The new framework facilitates enforcement of intellectual property rights by owners. For example, the thresholds for claiming damages against an infringer is higher than ever before.
China also now has four specialist intellectual property courts. This allows cases to be heard on a fairer footing, particularly given the likely complexities involved in any intellectual property dispute.
The decision to award such a significant damages figure to New Balance shows that enforcement of intellectual property rights in China, a territory where enforcement of such rights has traditionally been viewed as challenging, may no longer be as costly and difficult as once thought.
However, actual widespread infringement in China does remain. As with anything, change is likely to be slow and it will likely take a significant amount of time before we see similar levels of enforcement to that of the UK and Europe.
Things are moving in the right direct, though. Businesses of all sizes operating in China, particularly foreign businesses, should see this recent ruling as a win for those who wish to enforce their intellectual property rights generally.
If you wish to register your intellectual property rights in China, please contact one of our intellectual property experts. Having a registration in China may be the key to preventing the export of infringing goods to the UK and Europe.