China's Supreme Court rules in favor of Michael Jordan over trademark dispute

Xinhua
The SPC ruling prohibits Qiaodan Sports from using the Chinese translation of Jordan's name, Qiao Dan, together with its logo of a silhouetted basketball player.
Xinhua

China's Supreme People's Court has overturned earlier rulings by Beijing courts to favor US basketball legend Michael Jordan's trademark appeal against a Chinese sportswear firm that allegedly infringed upon his naming rights.

The SPC ruling prohibits Qiaodan Sports from using the Chinese translation of Jordan's name, Qiao Dan, together with its logo of a silhouetted basketball player, ending an eight-year trademark dispute.

However, it still allows the Chinese company to continue using either the logo or the name of Qiao Dan separately.

But the Supreme Court referred the case, over the use of the logo, for retrial by the State Intellectual Property Office.

In 2016, Jordan won the right to his name in Chinese characters, but the Supreme Court upheld the firm's right to use its trademark "Qiaodan" in pinyin.

Qiaodan Sports said in a statement on Wednesday that the ruling "would not impact the normal use of [its] existing trademarks, nor would it affect normal business operations."

In 2012, Michael Jordan, widely known as "Qiaodan" in China, accused Qiaodan Sports of unauthorized use of his name and identity. He lodged an appeal to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce to revoke the trademarks in dispute, but was rejected.

Later, Jordan filed lawsuits against the adjudication of the trademark authority but lost.

Chinese courts originally upheld the adjudication on the grounds that the Chinese translation "Qiaodan" is the translation of a common family name, and does not necessarily refer to the U.S. basketball star's name only.

In 2015, Jordan appealed to the SPC.

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