Using the terminology from basketball we can say that another “quarter” has been concluded and was won by Michael Jordan. Anyway we cannot totally agree with BCC and several other media that reported the news Michael Jordan won the battle for its trademark inChinese.
In the news we read that, in a decision issued December 8th, the Supreme People’s Court invalidated the rights of the local sportswear company Qiaodan to use the trademark “乔丹” (“Jordan” in Chinese). From searches we carried out independently with the public database of Chinese Trademark Office three trademark were invalidated by the Supreme Court recently (No. 6020569 for “Qiao Dan in Chinese Characters” in Class 28; No. 4152827 “Qiao Dan in Chinese Characters” in Class25; No. 6020565 “Qiao Dan in Chinese Characters” in Class 32). Nonetheless these trademarks are only filed recently by Qiaodan as defensive trademarks, while the oldest (identical) trademarks are still stably in the hands of the Fujian company.
In 2012, Jordan filed proceedings to cancel the registration of Qiaodan’s trademark “乔丹”, stating that the representation of his Chinese name, his team number 23 and a leaping man logo on shoe and jersey misleads consumers as to the genuine origin of the goods.
In May 2015, the Beijing High People’s Court dismissed partially Jordan for his claims. The Court held that he failed to submit sufficient evidence to establish an exclusive link between Qiaodan’s trademarks and his last name since Jordan was a common surname used by Americans. Moreover, his attempts to invoke protection of his personal name was time-barred taking into account that Qiaodan had already developed a sizable business of around 6,000 shops under these brands and most of its trademarks had been registered for more than 5 years.
Surprisingly though, the Supreme People’s Court overthrew previous rulings by lower Courts and invalidated the three trademarks above. However, the Supreme Court rejected Jordan’s claim on the pinyin translation of his name “Qiaodan”- since this version may not be closely linked with the former basketball player. And as mentioned above other trademarks in relevant classes for the trademark “乔丹” and the device part are in the hands of Qiaodan company.