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Nike sues two local firms for copying Air Jordan trademark

NIKE is seeking 300,000 yuan (US$43,890) from a supermarket and a garment company for infringing its "Air Jordan" trademark.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard the lawsuit yesterday without announcing a verdict.

Nike International Ltd said it registered its Air Jordan logo on China's mainland in 1993.

Last year it learned that the Chengshan outlet of Shanghai Century Lianhua Supermarket was selling sports trousers carrying a logo very similar to the "Air Jordan" logo without authorization.

The 19.9 yuan trousers also carried Shanghai Kangchen Garment Co Ltd's Li Pai label, said Kong Qin, Nike's lawyer.

"The figure on the trousers is very similar to the 'Air Jordan' trademark and will easily confuse consumers," Kong said. "The defendants have deliberately infringed the trademark on purpose and caused Nike losses."

The defendants argued that the logo wasn't well known to the public and neither Lianhua nor the Kangchen Garment Co knew that the image on the trousers might infringe any trademarks.

The image on the sports trousers was also different to Nike's trademark, they said. The player on the trousers "didn't look like a flying man," they said. Also, the figure wasn't used as a trademark, the defendants' lawyer told the court.

Kangchen said it bought the trousers from a wholesaler in Changshu City, Jiangsu Province, and attached its own labels.

Kangchen said only 32 pairs of the trousers had been sold so the compensation amount was unacceptable.

Yesterday, the court canceled another hearing in which Nike asked for 300,000 yuan from Trust-Mart Supermarket and Mingzhi Sports (China) Co Ltd. Nike said the supermarket sold sports shoes made by Mingzhi that carried the "Air Jordan" trademark. The court didn't give a reason for the cancellation.


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