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New Balance Files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Nautica, Alleges Improper Use of the Letter ‘N’


If you have ever owned a pair of New Balance sneakers, you are probably familiar with the fact that these shoes typically have a large and blocky capital letter ‘N’ on the side of them. Earlier this week, New Balance filed a trademark infringement claim against another apparel company seeking to protect that distinguishing mark.

According to reporting from Bloomberg Law, New Balance alleges that an American apparel brand called ‘Nautica’ is improperly using a block capital letter ‘N’ on some of its footwear products. In its legal complaint, New Balance contends that some of Nautica’s latest products contain a mark substantially similar to the design that New Balance is known for using.

The Key Issue: How Close is the Letter ‘N’ to the Letter ‘N’ 

Though most consumers who are familiar with athletic footwear associate the block letter ‘N’ with the brand New Balance, it is important to recognize that New Balance uses a particular, highly stylized version of the letter. In other words, New Balance does not own and control the right to use the letter ‘N’ on its shoes. Instead, the company has trademark rights over a specific stylized representation of the letter.

Whether or not Nautica’s products amount to trademark infringement will depend, in large part, on how close their version of the letter ‘N’ is deemed to be to New Balance’s version of the same letter. This may seem to be overly technical, but in trademark infringement cases, it is an incredibly important issue. If Nautica’s products are deemed to create a substantial likelihood of confusion in the minds of reasonable consumers, then they may be liable for trademark infringement.

Trademark Infringement: New Balance is Seeking All Available Remedies 

For its part, New Balance is seeking all of the remedies that you will typically see in a fashion-based trademark infringement claim. Specifically, New Balance requests the following forms of relief in its legal complaint:

  • Prevent Nautica and its employees from using the offending marks going forward;
  • Prevent Nautica and its employees from using other similar, derivative designs; and
  • Compel Nautica to pay monetary damages, including disgorgement of profits, compensation for actual losses, and legal costs/lawyers’ fees.

Put another way, New Balance is seeking both financial damages and injunctive relief. It should be noted that Nautica denies any wrongdoing in this case. The company contends that its products and its use of the letter ‘N’ are not confusingly similar to the stylized version of the block letter ‘N’ that is frequently associated with New Balance.

Contact Our West Palm Beach Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Attorney Today

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our dedicated West Palm Beach trademark litigation lawyers provide exceptional legal representation to individuals and companies throughout Southeast Florida. If you need trademark law guidance, please reach out to our legal team today. Beyond our office in West Palm Beach, we also have an office in Miami. We look forward to assisting you.




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