Feb 16, 2021

Save the Last Dance for Qiaodan

Michael Jordan is a former American basketball player turned businessman, who slam-dunked to fame as a Chicago Bull. Jordan is recognised as one of the greatest, if not the greatest ever basketball player to grace the game. Given his stature, it’s hardly a surprise he takes the protection of his image rights very seriously.

Michael Jordan and his legal representatives are well versed in bringing trade mark infringement claims across the world and the latest claim saw Jordan pit himself against Chinese sports company Qiaodan Sports Company (“QSC”).

QSC was founded in 2000 and has filed numerous trade marks for the word ‘Qiaodan’. ‘Qiaodan’ is the Chinese pronunciation of ‘Jordan’. Jordan has filed approximately 80 claims against QSC in respect of trade mark infringement in China and has always fell short, until now.

On 30 December 2020, the Shanghai 2nd Intermediate People’s Court held in the first instance that QSC had full knowledge of Jordan’s high reputation in China, yet still chose the specific Chinese word which corresponded to the English pronunciation of ‘Jordan’.

The court held that QSC was to publicly apologise to Jordan and compensate him for emotional damage and pay his legal fees in bringing the claim. Although this was a positive result for Jordan in protecting his brand, in accordance with Chinese trade mark law, as the mark “Qiaodan” had been registered for more than a five year period it cannot be cancelled. As a result, the Court held QSC should take measures to distinguish its goods from that of Jordan.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

Posted by: Tom Staveley in: EU/International, Trade Marks

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