NBA hall of famer, Michael Jordan has finally won his lawsuit against Chinese company, Qiaodan, after several years of legal battles which led to the former basketball player filing 80 lawsuits against the company.
According to reports, the court found that the use of the name “Qiaodan” which translates as Jordan was misleading customers for decades.
The Chinese sportswear and shoe manufacturer company has, thus, been ordered to pay Michael Jordan $46,000 (RMB300,000) for “emotional damages” and $7,600 (RMB50,000) for legal expenses incurred.
Below is a report from Variety, who exclusively reported the story.
The company must stop using the Chinese characters of “Qiaodan” in its corporate name and product trademarks, and issue a public apology in print and online clarifying that it has no connection to the basketballer himself, the court ruled. It must also take “reasonable measures” to indicate and clarify that its older trademarks have no actual ties to the NBA star.AdvertisementAdvertisement
The latter is a concession to the fact that China can’t order to order the company to stop using Jordan’s name entirely. The country’s trademark law stipulates that there is a five-year window in which registered trademarks may be disputed. Many of Qiaodan’s Jordan-related trademarks are more than five years old, meaning that they are technically now irrevocable.
The ruling is consistent with a previous verdict from China’s supreme court. In April, it issued a landmark ruling in Jordan’s favor to declare that the firm had used his name illegally, overturning two prior lower court verdicts. Qiaodan’s logo, the silhouette of a jumping basketball player, is very similar to Jordan’s well-known Nike Jumpman logo, a silhouette of him jumping to dunk. The supreme court did not rule that the logo violated Jordan’s rights, referring the issue out for retrial.Advertisement
Just months before in January, Beijing had signed a phase one deal declaring it would improve protections for intellectual property rights, a key point of contention in the ongoing US-China trade war.
Qiaodan Sports was founded in 2000 and operates nearly 6,000 stores across the country. It has registered around 200 trademarks related to Jordan, including 12 it applied for just last year. Jordan has filed 80 lawsuits against the firm since 2012.
He didn’t win any of them until 2016, when China’s supreme court awarded him the right to his name in Chinese characters, but not the phoentic spelling of “Qiaodan” in English.
In the recently concluded Shanghai suit, the defendants — Qiaodan Sports Company and the Bairen Trading Company, which sells its products — once again argued that “Jordan” is merely a common Western surname, not solely a reference to the NBA star.