Michael Jordan‘s eight-year trademark battle against Chinese brand Qiaodan Sports has reportedly come to an end, as the Supreme People’s Court in China has ruled in favor of Jordan. According to China Daily, the Chinese company can no longer use the Chinese translation of Jordan’s name, Qiaodan, which easily misleads consumers.
“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.
Founded in 2000, the Chinese company registered various styles of trademarks related to Jordan, including those in Chinese characters and pinyin, and a logo of a silhouetted basketball player that has similarities with the "Jumpman" logo used by Nike to promote its "Air Jordan" line of sports shoes.
Li suggested the company and some other Chinese enterprises put more focus on independent innovation and build their own trademarks, regarding it as a long-term solution for their sustainable development.
Qiaodan Sports can still, however, use its logo of a silhouetted basketball player, which draws similarities to Michael Jordan’s Jordan Brand logo. Because of this, senior IP researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Li Shunde, believes this will not be the last trademark dispute between Jordan and Qiaodan.
Back in 2016, Jordan won a case against Qiaodan giving him the trademark to his name written in Chinese characters. Shortly thereafter, China’s top court allowed Qiaodan to use its name in Romanized English.
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.