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Michael Jordan Loses Chinese Trademark Case

Former NBA-star Michael Jordan has lost a trademark dispute with Qiaodan Sports, a Chinese brand of sports shoes and clothing. 'Qiaodan' is the Chinese transliteration of Jordan. The 6-time champion has his own sports apparel brand with Nike, named Jordan. 
Qiaodan's logo, on the left, and Jordan's 'jumpman' logo.
Qiaodan's logo, on the left, and Jordan's 'jumpman' logo.
A Beijing court denied his request to revoke Qiaodan Sports' trademarks. According to the court, Jordan is a common American surname, and as such it's not clear who the Qiaodan brand refers to. It's logo, a jumping basketball player in a style similar to the Jordan 'jumpman' logo, lacks facial features and as such was hard for customers to indentify as Jordan, the court reasoned.
In addition to the similar name and logo, Qiaodan routinely uses the number 23 in their marketing, the jersey number Jordan played with for the Chicage Bulls. Qiaodan has even trademarked the names of Jordan's sons.
In China, whichever company registers a trademark first will usually win any dispute.
If anything, this case underlines the necessity for companies that sell, trade, or manufacture in China to register their trademarks. China is a 'first to file' country, meaning that whichever company registers a trademark first will usually win any dispute, even if the case is as clear as the Jordan/Qiaodan lawsuit.
Jordan, never a quitter, plans to appeal to the Supreme People’s Court.
More reading in Chinese and English.
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