WASHINGTON, DC—Finnegan is proud to announce that the People’s Higher Court of Fujian Province of the People’s Republic of China (the "Higher Court") ruled in favor of Under Armour in its case against Uncle Martian.
This ongoing high-profile trademark infringement lawsuit in the Fujian Province began in April 2016, when a company calling itself "Uncle Martian" debuted athletic footwear and clothing blatantly infringing Under Armour’s famous UA logo and other intellectual property (see below). In response, Finnegan and Under Armour in collaboration with the Chang Tsi firm in China quickly commenced legal action in the Higher Court on June 27, 2016, seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, monetary damages, and other relief against Uncle Martian’s multitude of violations of China’s trademark and unfair competition laws.
On November 2, 2016, following the submission of clear evidence of infringement and in anticipation of the commercial launch of Uncle Martian’s knock-off products, the Higher Court issued a Preliminary Injunction in Under Armour’s favor. On June 19, 2017, the Higher Court issued a further ruling ordering Uncle Martian to permanently stop using the contested trademarks, destroy all infringing products, pay approximately US$300,000 (RMB 2,000,000) in damages, and publish a statement to "eliminate the adverse effect of Uncle Martian’s infringement."
"We are pleased with these decisions by the Higher Court and appreciate its recognition of our intellectual property rights under Chinese law," says Toke Vandervoort, Deputy General Counsel, Under Armour.
Injunctions, particularly preliminary injunctions, remain a rarity in trademark cases before the Chinese courts. Finnegan and Chang Tsi represent Under Armour in this matter and are encouraged by the Higher Court’s decision because it, along with other recent sports industry cases, signal an increased willingness by China’s courts to send an appropriately strong message to copy-cats and infringers.
Erick Haskell, Managing Director for Greater China based in Under Armour’s China headquarters in Shanghai, notes that, "the positive impact of this is vital to Under Armour’s growth as a business in China with over 550 teammates in the country."
Although the entity behind Uncle Martian has appealed the case and the parties will now await a final decision of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China, Danny Awdeh, partner at Finnegan, is confident in Under Armour’s case, noting that "this case tells a very positive story for trademark owners and will lend additional strength to Under Armour’s ongoing efforts to protect its brand and business in China and globally."
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP is one of the largest IP law firms in the world. From offices in Atlanta, Boston, London, Palo Alto, Reston, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, and Washington, DC, the firm practices all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law, including counseling, prosecution, licensing, and litigation. Finnegan also represents clients on IP issues related to European patents and trade marks, international trade, portfolio management, the Internet, e-commerce, government contracts, antitrust, and unfair competition. For additional information on the firm, please visit www.finnegan.com. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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