American sportswear and sneaker manufacturer Under Armour has initiated legal action against Chinese company Uncle Martian for trademark infringement. In its complaint, which was filed late last month in an intellectual property court in China, Under Armour alleges that the newly launched Chinese company has made “blatant use” of its name, logo and intellectual property. As a result, it is demanding RMB100 million ($15.05 million) for revenue losses due to Uncle Martian’s alleged violations.
Erick Haskell, managing director of Under Armour Greater China, released a statement on the heels of the filing, saying: “Uncle Martian’s use of Under Armour’s famous logo, name, and other intellectual property are a serious concern and blatant infringement.”
Per WIPR, Uncle Martian, which was launched by 25-year-old Chinese sports manufacturer Tingfei Long Sporting Goods Co., has previously dismissed claims that its logo resembles that of Under Armour, alleging that its brand has “nothing to do” with its American counterpart. This is discredited a bit based on the similarities between the two brands’ offerings, particularly in terms of footwear. In addition to allegedly replicating Under Armour’s trademarked logo, Uncle Martian has also taken to copying an array of the brand’s sneakers.
The lawsuit coincides with Under Armour big push for the Chinese market. As Bloomberg noted in September 2015, “The Baltimore-based company plans to open a new store in China each day this month – taking its total stores to more than 100. Bloomberg’s Stephen Engle caught up with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank at the Stephen Curry basketball shoe launch in Beijing.”
It is worth noting that Fred Perry, the British brand founded by triple Wimbledon champion Fred Perry in 1952, whose laurel wreath logo has also been co-opted by the Chinese brand, has not filed suit.