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QiaodanChina.jpgMichael Jordan Scores a Win in China's Highest Court

The majority of Michael Jordan's victories have been on the basketball court, but now he can add a victory that took place at China's highest court to his list of accomplishments.

After four long years, Mr. Jordan won a landmark trademark case against Qiaodan Sports Company, a company that he has accused of profiting off his name. How? Qiaodan is the Mandarin transliteration of "Jordan".

The customer confusion is easy to understand. The Qiaodan storefront features the silhouette of a basketball player with a basketball in his hand and they sell sporting goods.

In the 1990s, the Air Jordan brand registered only the English version of "Jordan" in China. This is a common mistake that foreign companies make. China has a widespread problem where their citizens register well-known brands from around the world when those companies have not registered those marks themselves yet. In China, they follow the first to register system when it comes to protection of trademarks instead of the first to use system, so this practice becomes burdensome on international companies.

The verdict reversed previous rulings by lower courts in Beijing that said Qiaodan could use the Chinese characters for "Jordan" to sell their goods. However, the court upheld a ruling allowing them to use the Romanized version (Pinyin) of Qiaodan, pronounced "Chee-ow-dahn."

Even so, this could set a precedent for foreign companies and celebrities who have had similar issues arise in China. In addition, this case also demonstrates how China is steadily cooperating with foreign intellectual property rights and enforcing infringement laws.

New NHL Team Name in Limbo at USPTO Officegolden knights compare.jpg

In other trademark sports news, the Las Vegas Golden Knights had their trademark application denied weeks after the National Hockey League (NHL) revealed the name for the first ever major professional sports team in Las Vegas.

The USPTO points to the Golden Knights athletics department at the College of Saint Rose, who trademarked Golden Knights back in 2004.

However, there is still hope for the Vegas Golden Knights. There are multiple sports teams that overlap in name, such as the Texas Rangers (MLB) and the New York Rangers (NHL); and the New York Jets (NFL) and the Winnipeg Jets (NHL). The difference is being able to differentiate the name in the application. The NHL team will be able to respond to the USPTO and explain their differences and maybe then they will receive a more favorable outcome.

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