Slam dunk! Michael Jordan wins in China trademark battle

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China’s highest court has ruled in favour of former US basketball star Michael Jordan, in a long-running trademark dispute relating to a sportswear firm using the Chinese version of his last name.

The Supreme People’s Court said Qiaodan Sports, which has around 6000 shops in China, must stop using the characters for the former Chicago Bulls player’s name, read as Qiaodan in Chinese.

It marks a rare bit of good news for a foreign brand seeking to protect intellectual property rights in China, where firms such as iPhone maker Apple have often come out on the losing side in trademark battles.

The law there generally protects whichever company registers a trademark first. Jordan, who won six NBA championships in a glittering career, sued Qiaodan Sports in 2012, saying it had built its business around his Chinese name and famous jersey number 23.

In 2015 a court ruled in favour of Qiaodan Sports, but the latest win overturns previous rulings. Jordan said: “Chinese consumers deserve to know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me.”

However, the retailer can still use the Romanised version of Qiaodan.

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December 9, 2016 |
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