Michael Jordan is one of the most recognized names/brands on the planet, and in an attempt to protect his image, he has recently sued Chinese sportswear brand Qiaodan Sports for the unauthorized use of his name.
According to Business Week, the retired NBA superstar filed suit in a Chinese court this month, claiming the company has used and profited from his Chinese name and iconic #23 jersey number without permission.
“It is deeply disappointing to see a company build a business off my Chinese name without my permission, use the number 23 and even attempt to use the names of my children,” Jordan said in a statement. “I am taking this action to preserve ownership of my name and my brand.”
The report says that Qiaodan Sports’ name and trademark are the same as the Chinese version of Jordan’s name.
The company has registered capital of 450 million yuan and won approval from the nation’s securities regulator in November for an initial public offering of 112.5 million shares. It’s reportedly preparing to raise 1.06 billion yuan ($168 million) in a listing in Shanghai.
However, in its IPO prospectus, Qiaodan warns investors that there are potential trademark risks, saying some consumers may link the company and its products to Jordan due to confusion, though it claimed to have no commercial relationships with the former NBA star and has never used his image in promotions.
This would be the first time Jordan has raised any issue with Qiaodan regarding their trademark since the company was established in 2000.
“‘Qiaodan’ is a brand we registered according to Chinese law, and its lawful use should be protected,” Qiaodan said in a statement posted on its website. “We will make further clarification through our website if there’s any development.”
Jordan said in the statement issued yesterday that any monetary awards from the lawsuit “will be invested in growing the sport of basketball in China.”