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March 8, 2012

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Jordan name case to be heard at city court

A SHANGHAI court is to hear a lawsuit filed by basketball legend Michael Jordan accusing a sportswear company of using his name without authorization.

An announcement on the official microblog of the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court yesterday said the court has accepted the suit.

In the suit, Jordan claims Fujian Province-based Qiaodan Sports Co Ltd has built its business around his Chinese name and jersey number.

Shanghai Bairen Trade Co Ltd, the sales subsidiary of Qiaodan Sports in Shanghai, was also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Qiaodan Sports has not received any legal documents from the court regarding the case, an employee, surnamed Wang, with the company's legal affairs department told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Last week, it was reported that an unnamed Beijing court rejected a lawsuit by Jordan over the use of his Chinese name, though this was not confirmed by the court nor Jordan's legal team.

In a statement around that time, Jordan accused Qiaodan Sports of building a business off his Chinese name, the number 23 he wore on his shirt and even attempting to use the names of his children.

"I think Chinese consumers deserve to be protected from being misled, and they should know exactly what they are buying," Jordan said. "No one should lose control of their own name," he added.

Jordan accused Qiaodan Sports of filing more than 100 trademark applications related to his name and alleged the company's logo was a silhouette of the former Chicago Bulls star in action.

Qiaodan was accused of deliberately and aggressively using Jordan's name without permission and misleading customers into thinking he authorized its goods.

Qiaodan Sports was approved last November for listing on Shanghai Stock Exchange.

It registered "Qiaodan" as a trademark in China in June 2000 and had invested several billion yuan in building the brand, the company said earlier.

It added that the company had stated on several occasions that its products were not related to Jordan.


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