After an almost decade of legal battle, China’s Supreme Court has granted victory to basketball legend, Michael Jordan. The Chinese famous sportswear,
Qiaodan Sports was ordered to stop using the Chinese characters for Jordan's name. The Court's Chief Judge Tao Kaiyuan ruled that there is an established
link between Jordan and the Chinese characters for “Qiaodan” which are commonly used by the public when referring to the basketball legend.
Qiaodan Sports registered the Chinese characters for Jordan’s name which read as Qiaodan in Chinese. Jordan’s team of lawyers argued that Qiaodan has established its business around Jordan’s name without the latter’s permission causing damage to his legal rights to use his name.
The ruling by the Supreme Court is a reversal of the previous ruling from a lower court which granted trademark rights to Qiaodan Sports Co. and allowed it
to use Jordan’s name and several trademarks in connection to the latter’s brand.
Expressing his happiness over his triumph, the basketball legend said that “Nothing is more important than protecting your name, and today's decision
shows the importance of that principle.”
Indeed, in these times of aggressive trademark competition, we should be vigilant towards protecting our trademark, else, we might be entangled in a never-ending legal battle – worse, we lose our priceless intangible asset.
However, Michael Jordan may not celebrate a clear-cut victory as the court upheld a ruling allowing Qiaodan Sports to use the Romanized version of Qiaodan, pronounced "Chee-ow-dahn”.
Jordan’s fans are waiting whether he attains full control of his name as the Court is yet to try and hear a separate case on naming rights.