Under Armour wins key lawsuit against Chinese copycat firm

Sports clothing firm Under Armour has won a judgment in China’s highest court that should stop a rival company called Uncle Martian infringing its trademarks.

The ruling in the Supreme People’s Court upheld an earlier award of $300,000 in damages to be paid to Under Armour, and also ordered Uncle Martian to destroy products that carry copies of Under Armour's famous UA logo and other trademarks.

The verdict brings to an end a long-running legal dispute – first filed in 2016 – that resulted in an injunction on the launch of Uncle Martian’s clothing range in November that year, and a judgment in favour of Under Armour in 2017.

Uncle Martian appealed that ruling in August 2017, so it has taken almost three years for that appeal to make its way through to the Supreme Court. Nevertheless it's a boost to Under Armour's ambitions in China, which it sees as a major growth market.

Asia-Pacific has been the big growth market for the company in the last couple of years, until the coronavirus hit at least, accounting for 12 per cent of its $5.3bn global revenues last year.

The pandemic caused sales to slump 23 per cent to $930m in the first quarter of 2020, mainly due to store closures. By the end of March most outlets in China had reopened, although they remain largely shuttered in North America, Europe and Latin America.

The Baltimore-based company filed another lawsuit last year – this time against a US firm called Hotsuit – which also claims infringement of its UA trademark.

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