Dinner Table Conversation: What Does It Take to Win a Shoe War?

September 2, 2017

When you see an apple with a bite taken out of it, what is your first thought? Apple computers, right? How about when you see golden arches in the shape of an “M,” or a swoosh? These simple pictures, called, “logos,” remind people of certain companies and help them remember what they sell and what makes them different from other companies. These logos are important to companies and are oftentimes trademarked. In other words, when a logo is trademarked, no other company can use the logo without the company’s permission.

Why are we talking about logos and trademarks?

New Balance, a company that sells sports clothing and shoes, recently sued a company named New Boom for having a logo similar to theirs. New Balance claimed that New Boom’s logo, also a letter “N,” misled New Balance customers into thinking that they were buying New Balance products, but in reality they were buying New Boom products—something that was much cheaper but lower in quality. Sneaky, right? New Balance proved in court that New Boom was deceiving its customers, and the judge for the case agreed.

But why is this such big news?

Because this case happened in China. U.S.-based companies have had a hard time winning trademark cases in China, where logos are often used illegally—even Apple lost a case against a China-based company for using their logo! Could this be a sign of things to come? That’s what U.S. companies are hoping.