words // Brennan Hiro Williams

"You wasn't with me shooting in the gym..."

Earlier today, Michael Jordan released a video on his personal website discussing his recent lawsuit against Chinese retailer Qiaodan Sports:

In addition to the video, MJ lists the key facts and merits of the lawsuit on his site. Mike cites additional concerns, including the use of his children's names, and the fact that both Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian have recently won court protection from companies illegally using their names. A sample of the key facts is listed below:

Michael Jordan is well known in China as “Qiaodan” (乔丹): Since the 1980s, thousands of media reports in well-known publications such as the People’s Daily, Economic Daily and China Sports Daily have continuously and extensively reported on Michael Jordan’s career, influence and achievements – consistently referring to him as Qiaodan (乔丹).

Michael Jordan owns his own name and identity: According to the People’s Republic of China, an individual shall enjoy the right of personal name (Article 99 of the General Principle of Civil Law) and infringement on an individual person’s naming rights is prohibited (Article 2 of Torts Liability Law).

- Qiaodan Sports has infringed upon Michael Jordan by illegally using his name on its products: Michael Jordan has never authorized Qiaodan Sports to use his name, yet the company has registered several trademarks that include his name and reference his registered brand and his career. For example:

Qiaodan Sports has registered:
“Qiaodan” and乔丹 – the Chinese translations of Jordan
Domain name and website http://qiaodan.com.cn
Qiaodan Sports has actively filed for over 100 more similar trademarks:
Filed to register trademarks containing the number 23
Filed numerous applications for trademarks consisting of Michael Jordan’s sons’ names, Jeffrey and Marcus, in Chinese characters and the associated pinyin Romanization

Qiaodan Sports’ use of Michael Jordan’s name and its aggressive marketing tactics have misled Chinese consumers: Qiaodan Sports uses these names without permission in large scale advertising campaigns, including entering a sponsorship agreement with China Central TV (CCTV) at the World University Games and sponsoring Federation Internationale de Basketball Amateur from 2008-2010. In 2009-2010, Qiaodan Sports broadcast its name and logo courtside during U.S. NBA games broadcasted in China. A Shanghai sports product marketing company conducted an independent survey involving 400 respondents in 2009. The survey found out that 90 percent of young people in China’s small cities believed Qiaodan Sports was Michael Jordan’s own brand in China.

Qiaodan Sports has profited from consumer confusion created by its misuse of Michael Jordan’s image and reputation: With over 30 franchises and 4,000-5,000 specialty stores, Qiaodan Sports revenue totals have grown from $45.6MM in 2007 to $456.3MM in 2010.

A simple search on Qiaodan Sports returned the following video of a Qiaodan runway show:

Additional coverage by the International Business Times: