Balance Athletica, a Denver-based athleisure brand, has agreed to change its name after New Balance Athletics Inc., filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against it la little over a year ago.
According to court papers filed in Massachusetts in November 2020, New Balance said Balance Athletica used a “confusingly similar mark…to sell the same goods to the same consumers, using the same marketing channels.” It said Balance Athletica’s use of the mark “appears to be part of a larger plan to deliberately free ride on New Balance’s famous brand.” New Balance said Balance Athletica filed a trademark application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office for “Achieve Balance” for footwear and apparel, among other products. But “since the late 1990s,” New Balance has exclusively used the mark “Achieve With New Balance” in its advertisements and on its products. And the “Achieve” mark has been on nearly every one of the millions of shoeboxes it sold.
The case was closed in September 2021 and on Monday, Balance Athletica said it was changing its name to Vitality. Balance Athletica made no mention of the New Balance lawsuit. A spokesperson for Balance Athetica said both parties resolved the matter on agreeable terms, but declined to comment further. Amy Dow, director of public relations and government affairs for New Balance, added: “New Balance is pleased to have resolved the matter on mutually agreeable terms.”
Vitality is a family-owned and operated company that was created four years ago by Taylor Dilk, Steve Dilk and Chloe Chamberlain. The name change will become official on the brand’s e-commerce site, social media platform and products starting in April.
New Balance has been diligent in protecting its trademarks and also sued Michael Kors and Olympia shoes last year over an “N” that they used on two sneaker models that it claimed infringes on its trademark. That case is still pending.
Last February, New Balance was awarded $3.85 million in a trademark case against New Barlun, a Chinese sportswear company that had been trading on its name and various trademarks for more than 15 years.
New Balance was founded in 1906 in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood by William Riley, a 33-year-old Englishman living in the States who created the New Balance Arch Co. to manufacture arch supports to improve shoe fit. He based the design on a chicken’s three-clawed foot that provided the bird with perfect balance and mimicked the design by creating an arch with three support points in the insole. The company created its first pair of running shoes in 1938. It remains privately owned.