Supreme Court of China Recognises Michael Jordan's Right to his Name in Chinese

On 8 December 2016, the Supreme People's Court of China (SPC) issued judgments in respect of a series of administrative trademark cases involving the Chinese names of former basketball star Michael Jordan.

Regarding the three cases involving the “乔丹” (transliteration of "Jordan" in Chinese characters) marks registered by Qiaodan Sports Co., a Chinese sportswear company based in Fujian province, SPC held that registration of the disputed marks had infringed Michael Jordan's right to his own name and decided that those marks be revoked. Accordingly, the cases were remanded to the Trademark Review and Adjudication Committee (TRAB) for renewed adjudication.
 
SPC, however, at the same time dismissed Jordan's claim to his right in seven other cases involving the“QIAODAN” and “qiaodan” (both being Hanyu pinyin versions of Jordan) marks, and upheld the decision of the second instance court on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to support the association of the marks with the English name Jordan.
 
The cases started in 2012 when a petition for revocation of the disputed marks was filed with TRAB, which rendered a decision of upholding the registration of the marks. And the TRAB decision was maintained by the first and second instance courts before the cases were brought to and heard by SPC.