A Beijing court has dismissed a trademark case brought by US basketball superstar Michael Jordan against a company using a similar name and logo to his Nike-produced brand, a report said.
The former Chicago Bull is arguably the most popular international basketball star in China and is known in the country as “Qiaodan”, a Chinese version of his name.
He asked Chinese authorities in 2012 to revoke the trademark of Qiaodan Sports Co, accusing the sportswear firm of misleading consumers about its ties to the six-time NBA champion.
As well as the name, Qiaodan’s products carry a silhouette of a leaping basketball player resembling the “Jumpman” logo used by US sporting goods giant Nike to promote its Air Jordan brand.
Authorities refused Jordan’s request, and a lower court in Beijing did the same. He appealed to the Beijing Higher People’s Court, which has ruled against him, the Chinese news portal Sohu reported.
“‘Jordan’ is not the only possible reference for ‘Qiaodan’ in the trademark under dispute,” it cited a transcript of the verdict as saying.
“In addition, ‘Jordan’ is a common surname used by Americans,” the court added according to the report Monday, and the logo was in the shape of a person with no facial features, so that it was “hard” for consumers to identify it as Jordan.
There was insufficient evidence to prove the trademark referred to the US star, it concluded.
Jordan retired from the sport in 2003.
China has long been seen as a counterfeiters’ haven and has constantly been criticised by its trade partners over lax protection of intellectual property rights.
It remained on this year’s US Priority Watch List of trading partners that fail to protect such rights “despite certain improvements”.
Qiaodan Sports Co, based in the eastern province of Fujian, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse