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China’s top court gives Michael Jordan partial victory

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 24: Michael Jordan attends a press conference before the NBA Paris Game match between Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks on January 24, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Former basketball star Michael Jordan has scored a small win in his long-running legal tussle with Chinese sportswear firm Qiaodan Sports.

China’s supreme court has ruled that, while the company is not allowed to use Jordan’s Chinese name – Qiao Dan – on its merchandise, its logo is still permitted to use the silhouette of a basketball player, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

The latest judgement reversed earlier rulings against Jordan, who first started legal action against Qiaodan Sports in 2012.

Qiaodan Sports’ logo includes a silhouette of a basketball player, which looks very similar to Jordan’s own, world-famous ‘Jumpman’ logo. The court ruled that the use of the silhouette did not violate Jordan’s portraiture rights, meaning Qiaodan Sports can continue to use it.

Qiaodan Sports has registered around 200 trademarks based on the former NBA star since it was founded in 2010, including Jordan’s Chinese name and the phonetic version in English.

The case might be viewed as strand of the ongoing trade row between the US and China, started by US president Donald Trump. Rules on intellectual property protection will be included in any new trade deal.