High­est court hands Jor­dan par­tial vic­tory

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CAO YIN caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top court is­sued a ver­dict on Thurs­day in a lengthy trade­mark dis­pute in­volv­ing US basketball leg­end Michael Jor­dan’s right to pro­tect his name.

The Supreme Peo­ple’s Court ruled that the reg­is­tered trade­mark of Chi­nese com­pany Qiao­dan Sports — “Qiao­dan” is a translit­er­a­tion of “Jor­dan” in Chi­nese char­ac­ters — in­fringes on Jor­dan’s right to his name and vi­o­lates pro­vi­sions of the Trade­mark Law.

“‘Qiao­dan’ in the Chi­nese char­ac­ters has a strong con­nec­tion to the basketball player, and most Chi­nese will think of Jor­dan when they see ‘Qiao­dan’ writ­ten in Chi­nese,” said Tao Kaiyuan, vice-pres­i­dent of the top court.

The ver­dict or­ders the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce to re­voke the trade­mark and to is­sue a new rul­ing over the use of Chi­nese char­ac­ters in the brand name “Qiao­dan”.

How­ever, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court per­mits the Fu­jian prov­ince shoe and sportswear com­pany’s use of Qiao­dan re­lated trade­marks reg­is­tered in Pinyin, thus par­tially rul­ing against Jor­dan.

The for­mer NBA star, who was not in the court on Thurs­day, re­sponded in a state­ment, “I’m happy that

the top court has rec­og­nized the right to pro­tect my name.”

He said mil­lions of Chi­nese con­sumers had al­ways known him by the name “Qiao­dan” in Chi­nese char­ac­ters, adding that noth­ing is more im­por­tant than pro­tect­ing some­one’s name.

The case be­gan in 2012, when Jor­dan filed lit­i­ga­tion de­mand­ing that the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce re­voke the trade­marks of Qiao­dan Sports.

From 2014 to 2015, Bei­jing No 1 In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court and Bei­jing High Peo­ple’s Court both re­jected Jor­dan’s re­quest on the grounds that “Qiao­dan” is the trans­la­tion to Chi­nese of a com­mon fam­ily name and does not nec­es­sar­ily re­fer to the bas­ket­baller player.

In July 2015, Jor­dan turned to the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court, ask­ing it to or­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­voke the com­pany’s rights to the Qiao­dan name. The high court ac­cept- Time­line

US basketball icon Michael Jor­dan asked the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce’s Trade­mark Re­view and Ad­ju­di­ca­tion Board to re­voke trade­marks reg­is­tered by Qiao­dan Sports in 2000 based on “Qiao­dan”, a translit­er­a­tion of his English sur­name.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion did not agree with Jor­dan.

Jor­dan filed an ad­min­is­tra­tive law­suit against the ad­min­is­tra­tion to Bei­jing No 1 In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court.

Jor­dan ap­pealed the case to the Bei­jing High Peo­ple’s Court af­ter the in­ter­me­di­ate peo­ple’s

Fe­bru­ary 2012

ed the case the fol­low­ing De­cem­ber.

Thurs­day’s rul­ing did not touch on com­pen­sa­tion be­cause the pro­ceed­ings were be­tween Jor­dan and the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

By law, Jor­dan could file law­suits against Qiao­dan Sports seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion.

Ma Dongx­iao, an at­tor­ney for Qiao­dan Sports, said that how big an ef­fect the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court ver­dict will have on his client re­mains un­cer­tain.

“It may not have too much in­flu­ence on the com­pany’s busi­ness, be­cause it can go on sell­ing prod­ucts reg­is­tered by other trade­marks.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tion and its at­tor­neys de­clined to com-

court ruled against him.

Jor­dan ap­plied for a re­trial with the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court.

The na­tion’s top court de­cided to retry Jor­dan’s case.

The top court re­tried the se­ries of 10 cases re­lated to trade­marks. Thurs­day

The top court ruled that the trade­marks reg­is­tered us­ing Jor­dan’s sur­name in Chi­nese have to be with­drawn.

ment on Thurs­day.

Zhang Guan­gliang, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty law at Ren­min Uni­ver­sity of China, said the top court’s ver­dict can be seen as a guide­line for courts na­tion­wide on how to deal with the pro­tec­tion of for­eign­ers’ names.

“I will keep fol­low­ing the case,” Zhang said.

Trade­marks of Jor­dan (left) and Qiao­dan Sports

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