China court rules against New Balance in trademark case

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese appeal court has ruled against U.S. sportswear firm New Balance for trademark infringements and ordered it to pay five million yuan ($756,945) in compensation to a Chinese company, an amount far lower than previously ruled.

The court in Guangdong upheld an earlier ruling against the U.S. sports shoe maker’s use of a Chinese language trademark, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Thursday, but reduced the damages from a previously ruled 98 million yuan.

China has seen a recent spate of disputes over trademarks and intellectual property, with iPhone maker Apple Inc, entertainment firm Walt Disney Co and carmaker Jaguar Land Rover all being drawn into court cases.

New Balance spokeswoman Amy Dow said the firm was “disappointed” by the ruling and was considering taking the appeal process further.

“This ruling is particularly concerning as it is contrary to the rest of the developed world’s understanding of Intellectual Property,” Dow said in emailed comments on Friday, adding the ruling could set a “poor precedent”.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Brenda Goh