Victory for Michael Jordan After 8-Year Chinese Trademark Battle

By Rakini Bergundy, April 13, 2020

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After a lengthy eight-year battle, Michael Jordan celebrated another partial victory against Chinese sportswear brand Qiaodan Sports. 

‘Qiaodan’ transliterates to ‘Jordan’ – the name Michael Jordan is commonly known by in China. 

At the end of March, the Supreme People’s Court ruled in favor of the six-time NBA champion, acknowledging that the Chinese company illegally used Jordan’s trademarked name. However, prosecutors ruled that the Qiaodan’s logo did not violate Jordan’s portraiture rights as it does not include distinguishable facial features. The Fujian-based company’s logo also bears resemblances to Air Jordan’s iconic Jumpman logo. 

Qiaodan was founded in 2000, and has “registered various styles of trademarks related to Jordan, including those in Chinese characters and pinyin and a logo of a silhouetted basketball player.” Chinese law follows a first-to-file system, meaning international trademarks are not recognized if they are not registered on the Chinese mainland. Jordan has filed 80 lawsuits against Qiaodan Sports since 2012 adding he is “deeply disappointed to see a company build a business off [his] Chinese name without [his] permission, use the number 23 and even attempt to use the names of [his] children.” In 2016, the Supreme People’s Court ruled that Jordan owned the legal rights to his name in Chinese characters, but not the pinyin version. 

On Weibo, Qiaodan Sports assured that business would not be affected as only four of their 74 trademarks have been revoked, while the others remain disputed. Commenters weighed in calling the company’s actions “shameless” and “embarrassing.”

READ MORE: Bruce Lee’s Daughter Sues Chinese Fast Food Chain

[Cover image via @乔丹体育官方微博/Weibo]

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