Michael Jordan has been in a near decade long battle with a Chinese brand named Qiaodan Sports. According to reports by Sports Illustrated, that 8-year dispute has ended with the courts ruling in Jordan’s favor. Now the company can no longer use the name Qiaodan, which is the direct Chinese translation of Jordan’s name. It’s shocking that the process took even this long when you consider how this can easily benefit the company in passing as the official Jordan Brand company.
“The ruling made by the top court not only recognized Jordan’s right to protect his name across China, but also upheld the equal protection standards offered in IP disputes,” said Kang Lixia, an IP lawyer from Beijing Conzen Law Firm.
As Jordan began to rise to stardom in the 1980s and quickly became a global superstar, the most prominent athlete in the world was referred to as “乔丹” by Chinese media and reporters, which translates to Qiaodan. Pinyin, which is the system used for writing the sounds of Chinese in Roman characters, to refer to Jordan.
In Jordan’s lawsuit, he claims that Qiaodan Sports has illegally misappropriated his fame and used it to acquire riches that are not rightfully theirs. The Supreme People’s Court, which is the Chinese equivalent to the Supreme Court in America, decided to side with Jordan.
Back in 2016, Jordan won a case against Qiaodan, giving him the trademark to his name written in Chinese characters “乔丹.” In the following months, China’s top court allowed Qiaodan to use its name in Romanized English. Now that has been disallowed. Qiaodan Sports does still have the authority to use its logo of a silhouetted basketball player, which is… kind of similar, MJ’s Jumpman logo.
Since the recent court ruling, Qiaodan Sports has said the decision would not keep it from using its other existing trademarks and that business would continue as usual.