The average Florida consumer may not think about the fact that many of the top brand items available for purchase in the United States are also in high demand in other countries. Likewise, other countries often export their brands to this country to compete for the consumer’s attention. However, when foreign countries distribute their goods in the United States, they must comply with the trademark laws of this country. These laws forbid other companies from profiting from the design, name, or distinguishing features another company has registered as its intellectual property.
Sometimes a company may imitate a trademarked product to trick consumers into thinking they are purchasing the original brand. One example involves a brand of footwear that is manufactured in China and distributed in the United States. The style of New Bunren, or New Barlun, shoes and the company’s logo so closely resemble that of the American brand, New Balance, that the U.S. company filed a lawsuit for trademark violations.
Willful trademark infringement
The U.S. District Court in that state examined the two logos, which both consist of a red square, a white letter “N” with claw-like stripes, and the name of the brand in white letters below. Last December, the court ruled in favor of the American company. Recently, the court awarded New Balance over $500,000 in statutory damages but declined to award court costs and attorney fees.
The violation of trademark laws may leave a company few other options besides taking legal action to protect its products. Fighting for the fair and exclusive use of one’s intellectual property can be all-consuming, especially when dealing with foreign countries. However, it is often worth it for companies that have built an international reputation among customers.