Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fashion Legallaire Goes to China: Michael Jordan Lost the Rights to His Name in China

Business Insider
Michael Jordan lost the rights to his name in China in a recent trademark lawsuit he brought to a Beijing Municipal High People’s Court against a company using a similar name and logo for his Nike in April 2014.

China is home to lax protection of intellectual property rights, many counterfeit goods and brands and Jordans by Nike is no exception. The chinese imitator is Qiaodan Sports, a Chinese sportswear company based in Fujian province.

Since 2012, Jordan has unsuccessfully sued Qiaodan Sports for  misappropriating his name and likeness. In this lawsuit, Jordan asked Qiaodan Sports to deregister 78 trademarks.

China Wire reports that Qiaodan Sports, pronounced “chew dahn” sounds very similar to Jordan. In fact, it is a Mandarin transliteration of “Jordan” used to refer to Michael Jordan. Also, Qiodan uses the number 23 and a jumping man logo to sell basketball shoes and jerseys. Which would naturally mislead any consumer in China that Michael Jordan was behind the brand.

In the U.S. legal system, it is clear that Qiaodan infringed on Jordan’s trademark rights. However, after a series of countersuits, it is clear that Chinese law backs it national companies even when it is clear that their success derives from the creations of others. In a June 18th verdict, the Beijing court ruled that “Qiaodan” is not only the name that corresponds to “Jordan,” and “Jordan” is only an ordinary surname of American people, not a full name.  Also, the logo is in the shape of a person with no facial features, so the current evidence is not enough to prove that Qiaodan” determinedly points to Michael Jordan.

The six time NBA champion plans to appeal to the Supreme People’s Court for a retrial.

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