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Global Times interview Chief Lawyer Xu Xinming:Top court hears Michael Jordan’s trademark suit

Post Time:2016-05-06 Source:Global Times Author:Shan Jie Views:
China's supreme court on Tuesday began hearing a trademark lawsuit brought by US basketball star Michael Jordan, a case experts project will become a model for similar cases in the future.

Jordan has accused Qiaodan Sportswear Co of Jinjian, East China's Fujian Province of using his name without authorization, as he believes "Qiaodan" to be a Chinese transliteration of "Jordan," but the Trademark Appraisal Committee (TAC) of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce rejected Jordan's 2012 appeal to cancel the company's trademarks.

The Supreme People's Court (SPC) of China on Tuesday began retrying the trademark dispute between Jordan and both the TAC and Qiaodan Sportswear Co.

Proceedings in the case presided over by Tao Kaiyuan, vice president of the SPC, focused on whether the trademark infringes upon Jordan's right to use his name, as Jordan has claimed, and whether it violates China's 2001 Trademark Law, news portal chinacourt.org reported Tuesday.

Qiaodan Sportswear, registered in 2000, claimed Tuesday that there are 4,200 citizens in China named Qiao Dan, so no relation between Qiaodan and Jordan can be established.

However, Jordan's attorneys argued that the company has registered some 60 trademarks related to Jordan's name, some 40 related to images of Jordan and 32 related to the names of Jordan's sons, all of which aim to lead consumers to believe that Qiaodan is related to Jordan.

The SPC has not yet pronounced judgment in the case.

"The case is very representative, as Jordan is internationally influential and Qiaodan has been operating successfully for several years, so the work that has gone into the company's commercial operations should also be protected," Xu Xinming, a Beijing-based lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Coincidentally, the SPC's hearing of the case fell on World Intellectual Property Day. According to Zhang Zhiqiang, a lawyer at Beijing Yixing Law Firm, the case will set a precedent for similar intellectual property suits, especially trademark suits, which have become common.

Jordan's first petition to the TAC was rejected in 2014. After the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court ruled against him in 2014, he appealed to the Beijing High People's Court, which also rejected his claim in July 2015.