There’s nothing better than a new pair of kicks. That feeling you get when the crisp, white box lands in your hands is matched only the dizzying sensation you receive once you slip your feet into a nice, new pair of…New Barluns? That’s right, China’s No.1 New Balance knock-off brand New Barluns has made a name for itself releasing some questionably similar designs of late, but that may all be coming to an end.
Earlier this month, China’s Business Times reported that New Balance (the real one) had won a $1.5 million case against the Chinese athletic company after Pudong New Area People’s Court in Shanghai declared that New Barlun engaged in “unfair competition”. Fujian-based New Barlun came under fire for its slanted N logo, which bears a striking similarity to the iconic New Balance symbol. According to reports, New Balance argued the continued use of the New Barlun logo was unfair competition, leading to a loss to New Balance in reputation and goodwill.
The court agreed, stating that the public “would sufficiently associate the products decorated with ‘N’ letters on both sides of the athletic shoes with ‘New Balance,’” which effectively entitled the Boston-based New Balance to protection by way of China’s Unfair Competition Law. Additionally, New Barlun has been ordered to pay 10.8 million RMB, roughly $1.5 million in damages and legal fees to New Balance. Not only that, but the company will have to cease its use of the “N” logo, before issuing a “public clarification” about it.
As crazy as the New Balance/New Barluns case is, it isn’t the first time the brand has come up against copycats. Back in 2017, New Balance won a significant court case against three companies, including New Boom and New Bunren. Looks like it’s only a matter of time before we see ‘New Balantz’ on the market.