“Air Qiaodan” just does not have the same ring to it. And a Michael Jordan lawsuit over the name did not have the same cha-ching to it.
A Chinese sportswear manufacturer has been operating under the Chinese translation of Jordan, “Qiaodan,” since 2000 and was sued by Michael Jordan in 2012. Jordan won the case in a Shanghai court this week under Chinese law, but he was awarded money only for emotional damages ($45,900) and legal costs ($4,650), according to Shine, the digital version of English-language Shanghai Daily. Jordan, who is worth $1.6 billion, according to Forbes, was not claiming financial losses in court.
The bigger win for Jordan was the court ruling that Qiaodan Sports Company must stop using the two Chinese characters for “Jordan” and publicly apologize with an online clarification that it is not associated with Michael Jordan, according to Variety. Qiaodan, which has 6,000 stores in China, must show customers that older trademarks are not tied to Jordan because Chinese law does not allow trademarks older than five years to be challenged.
Jordan keeps winning in the court. In April, he won a landmark case in China’s supreme court to overturn lower-court rulings about Qiaodan’s use of his name. The supreme court sent to retrial a challenge about the use of a logo that resembles the trademark Air Jordan silhouette logo.
The case is symbolic of U.S.-China trade relations, which made progress earlier this year with the beginnings of a deal to protect intellectual property.
Jordan has filed 80 lawsuits against Qiaodan since 2012, but he did not have his first breakthrough win until 2016, when the Chinese supreme court gave him the rights to his name in Chinese but not the phonetic English translation of Qiaodan.
Jordan apparently took the advice of his own inspirational basketball quote: “l’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”