The following article was written by Spencer Wingate.
Michael Jordan filed a lawsuit in China against Qiaodan Sports Company Ltd for copyright infringement. “Qiaodan” means “Jordan” in Mandarin and the former Bulls superstar is widely known in China by this moniker. Jordan contends the company has built a business by using his name without his consent. The company started in the 1980s but did not attempt to change its name to Qiaodan until 1997. The company earns billions of Yuan in revenue each year by selling sporting goods and footwear. Jordan claims the lawsuit is not about making money but protecting his name. Qiaodan responded by stating the company has registered the trademark Qiaodan and legitimately operates under Chinese law.
Jordan has been involved in numerous lawsuits trying to protect his intellectual property. In this suit, Jordan will need to show the company is intentionally misleading consumers into believing he endorses the company and is profiting without his consent. Jordan has not trademarked his name in China but companies are not allowed to freely use famous individuals’ names. Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian have both won trademark disputes recently in Chinese court which could help Jordan’s case. Ultimately, the lawsuit will come down to Jordan being able to establish his global celebrity status preceded Qiaodan’s registered trademark.