Michael Jordan wins rights to his Chinese name in trademark battle

Michael Jordan wins rights to his Chinese name in trademark battle

Qiaodan Sports Co ordered to stop using basketball stars name in Chinese script but court rules it can still use phonetic version in English

Michael Jordan has won part of his trademark case against a China-based sportswear company, following the retired basketball stars years-long struggle for control over the rights to his Chinese name.

In a ruling by the Chinese supreme court, Qiaodan Sports Co, based in south-eastern Fujian province, must stop using the Chinese characters for Qiaodan on its merchandise, according to a transcript of court records posted on an official website.

The word is a Chinese rendering of Jordans name that is widely known by the countrys consumers.

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The supreme court did not stop the company from using phonetic spellings of Jordans Chinese name using the English alphabet, however, saying they do not infringe on his right to use his name in the country.

I am happy that the supreme peoples court has recognised the right to protect my name through its ruling in the trademark cases, Jordan said in a statement.

Todays decision ensures that my Chinese fans and all Chinese consumers know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me.

The former Chicago Bulls player asked Chinese authorities in 2012 to revoke the companys trademarks, which featured a similar name and logo to Jordans Nike-produced brand.

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A Qiaodan-branded trainer in a store in Beijing. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

The six-time NBA champion, who retired in 2003, accused the company of misleading consumers about its ties to him by using the name along with a silhouette of a leaping basketball player resembling the Jumpman logo used by Nike to promote its Air Jordan brand.

Jordan filed his appeal to Chinas highest court after his claims were rejected by two lower courts.

China has long been seen as a counterfeiters haven and has constantly been criticised by its trade partners over lax protection of intellectual property rights.

It remained on this years US priority watch list of trading partners that fail to protect such rights despite welcome developments … [in] legal and regulatory reform efforts, and encouraging developments in individual cases in Chinas courts, according to the committee that compiles the list.

Qiaodan Sports Co could not be reached for comment.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/08/michael-jordan-scores-partial-victory-china-trademark-case-qiaodan