The NBA Hall of Famer had sued Qiaodan Sports for using his name
NBA star Michael Jordan has won his case against Qiaodan Sports in China’s Supreme People’s Court.
Jordan had sued Fujian-based Qiaodan Sports in 2012 for using his name as well as his jersey number ’23’ without his permission. The Chinese characters for Jordan’s name are the same as Qiaodan’s.
In 2015, the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled in favour of Qiaodan Sports. Jordan’s legal team then took the case to China’s Supreme People’s Court.
The court’s judgement was broadcast live on its website, stating that Jordan’s Chinese name is “well-recognised” in the country and he should retain the legal rights to it.
Qiaodan Sports has around 6,000 shoes and sportswear shops in China. The company has now been ordered to give up its trademark registrations of the Chinese version of the name.
“I am happy that the Supreme People’s Court has recognized the right to protect my name through its ruling in the trademark cases,” Jordan said in a statement sent to Reuters. “Chinese consumers deserve to know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me.”
The basketballer is still awaiting another judgement in a Shanghai court for a different lawsuit he filed against Qiaodan Sports in 2012. Jordan said, “I respect the Chinese legal system and look forward to the Shanghai Court’s ruling on the separate naming rights case.”
Beijing-based intellectual property partner at law firm Baker & McKenzie, Andrew Sim, said that the verdict on Jordan’s case “shows China’s strong commitment to fight against trademark pirates, as this invalidates the trademark of a large Chinese sportswear company. The ruling will definitely have a positive effect in signaling to Chinese pirates that they cannot pirate the name of famous celebrities.”