Dispute Erupts Over Rights to Karhu Brand

KARHU Holding B.V. has terminated its footwear license with Karhu Sporting Goods Oy of Finland over allegations of forgery and fraud and is incorporating a new company in Finland to take over the company’s footwear sales there directly, KARHU Holding told The B.O.S.S. Report.


“We terminated our footwear licensee (Karhu Sporting Goods Oy) in Finland amongst others for aggravated forgery and fraud and are incorporating a new company, Karhu Finland, to take over the Footwear sales directly,” KARHU Holding’s CEO Huub Valkenburg told BOSS in an e-mail sent from Finland Thursday. “The economic crimes unit from the Helsinki police have taken on our request for investigation for aggravated forgery and fraud and are now filing charges against the management of KSG Oy.”


A Finnish paper quoted KSG Oy officials last week as saying that KARHU Holdings had not paid a substantial share of the price due for purchase of Karhu’s brand rights. The Finnish company said it would deploy all legal means to secure what it maintains is its right to the Karhu brand. Finnish national daily Helsingin Sanomat quoted KARHU Holding as saying that the Finnish company had falsified documents.


In June, Valkenburg and fellow former Reebok executive Jay Duke announced they were buying global rights to the Karhu brand from KSG Oy. Under the deal, KSG Oy was to rename itself and keep rights to the brand in Scandinavia and retain global licensing rights for Karhu branded Nordic skis.  Jarden Corp.’s K2 unit retains the global license for Karhu alpine skis.


Valkenburg and Duke said they want to re-establish Karhu as a performance running shoe brand in both Europe and the United States. In its report last week, Helsingin Sanomat reported that KARHU Holding and KSG Oy are expected to appear before a Dutch arbitration court. In his e-mail, Valkenburg said he was unaware of any arbitration case being filed against KARHU Holding. 

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Dispute Erupts Over Rights to Karhu Brand

Finland’s Karhu Sporting Goods said it would deploy all legal means to secure what it maintains is its right to the Karhu brand. In June, Karhu Holding, a company based in the Netherlands, bought the rights to the brand, but Karhu Sporting Goods says the Dutch firm has not paid a substantial share of the agreed price.


Finnish national daily Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday quoted Karhu Holding as saying that the Finnish company had falsified documents.


Karhu Holding and Karhu Sporting Goods are expected to appear before a Dutch arbitration court. Karhu specializes in running and ski.

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Thomas J. Ryan

Thomas J. Ryan Senior Business Editor | SGB Media tryan@sgbonline.com | 917.375.4699

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