Podcast #4: Michael Jordan's Battle for his Name in China

Apr 24, 2020
| By Vincent Chow
The basketball legend's protracted dispute in China encapsulates the challenges of trademark protection involving different cultures and languages

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Michael Jordan is a household name throughout the world, but in China, his name is at the center of a protracted dispute over the trademark rights to his name in Chinese. In this episode, we do a deep dive into Jordan’s eight-year battle to protect his brand in China: how it all began, the trademarks at stake, the legal arguments from both sides, and the courts’ rulings.

For the full podcast, click here to listen on Soundcloud and here on Apple Podcasts.

Laura Wen-Yu Young is Managing Partner at Wang and Wang, a U.S. law firm specializing in intellectual property and investment in China. Laura has 30 years of experience working on IP protection for foreign parties in China and has previously taught at Soochow University, Cornell University, and UC Berkeley.

The China Law Podcast is a new weekly podcast discussing China’s business and financial sectors from a legal perspective.

Episode outline

  • 01:40 High-level summary of the dispute between Jordan and Qiaodan Sports
  • 04:17 Qiaodan Sports’ background and rise to become a major sportswear company
  • 07:51 Jordan’s claims under the PRC Trademark Law and how they fared in court
  • 10:54 Jordan’s claim that “Qiaodan” is his name and how names are ascertained under Chinese law
  • 13:36 The importance of the public’s understanding of the name “Qiaodan”
  • 15:07 Recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Jordan
  • 16:34 Negative public relations impact for Qiaodan and other Chinese companies engaged in trademark disputes
  • 18:28 Lessons for foreign businesses about trademark protection in China
  • 21:00 Outlook for intellectual property protection in China


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