Michael Jordan V Qiaodan Sports
Supreme People’s Court China – 09 April 2020
Michael Jordan’s history with Qiaodan Sports isn’t a pleasant one, with more than 80 lawsuits and counter lawsuits over the last eight years. This is no surprise to those who are familiar with Qiaodan Sports (Chinese rough transliteration of Jordan), who are known to register variations of NBA players’ names, analogous to Konami’s eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer video game and their approach to naming unlicensed brands, such as ‘Man Blue’ for Manchester City. Jordan has undeniably suffered the greatest number of infractions from QS. From registering a silhouette reminiscent of the Jordan logo to naming their company after Jordan (Qiaodan being a rough transliteration of Jordan), Qiaodan Sports has registered hundreds of marks with association to Jordan. A considerable number, highlighted by the fact that Qiaodan Sports was only founded ten years ago.
China’s protections of one’s personal name outreach the scope of protection you’d see from most other countries, as it’s considered a right. Considering the fact that ‘Qiaodan’ is a rough Chinese transliteration of ‘Jordan’, the likelihood that Chinese consumers are to associate Qiaodan Sports with Michael Jordan is relatively high. The Supreme People Court therefore perceived the registration to be in bad faith, thereby ruling in Jordan’s favour to deny the application.