Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Supporting Qiaodan Brand Is Not Patriotic, But Harmful To China

An iconic photo of Michael Jordan getting the basketball was made into a mirror-like silhouette logo, and then used with the phonetically similar name 乔丹 Qiáodān, and both the logo and name were trademarked in China without Michael Jordan's permission.

The most iconic basketplayer ever, Jordan, is going to protect his name, his identity and the Chinese consumer against a Chinese company that has made a business of his name by taking advantage of his reputation. 

In a video on his site The Real Jordan Michael Jordan said: "I have established a name, likeness, identity, that represents me personally. When you see the Jordan brand it is a direct connection of who I am, Michael Jordan. I have always thought that my name means everything to me and is something that I own. If someone takes advantage of that, or misrepresents that, I think it is up to me to protect that. I think that is for everyone, not just Michael Jordan, globally all over the world, when you have your name it is your DNA.

Stan Abrams points to article 31 Trademark Law that has been applied by Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, see here
Article 31 Trademark Law: An application for the registration of a trademark shall not create any prejudice to the prior right of another person, nor unfair means be used to pre-emptively register the trademark of some reputation of another person has used. 

Chinese Radio International (CRI), the website of China's state radio published an article written by Fuyu entitled "Linsanity" Offers Entrepreneurs a Chance to Cash In. The article is writing about pre-emptively registering a trademark of reputation of another person as something commendable. Fuyu writes about Yu Minjie, who registered in 2011 the trademark "Jeremy S.H.L (Shu-How Lin) when Jeremy Lin just entered the NBA: Using her sharp business acumen, Yu immediately recognized Lin's business value when she saw him play basketball on television, prior to Lin becoming famous." And of course Lin's reputation is short, but Lin should be able to make use of article 31 Trademark Law too.

Fortunately there is also information coming from China that does not accept this pre-emptive practice. The video below covers a survey at Sina website. They asked 59,279 people if they think the 乔丹 Qiaodan brand deceives the public. 78.6 percent agreed, and 16.2 percent did not agree.
The presenter 白岩松 Bai Yan Song asked: "If 乔丹 Qiaodan would win, does it means the company would win?" Bai gave the answer: "No, even if they win in the lawsuit, they will still lose, because they are cheaters in the eye of the consumer."

A boy said that if the 乔丹 Qiaodan will win the lawsuit, it will improve the position of this company in his mind. Then the reporter asked why? He replied: "乔丹 Qiaodan must win, because it is our national brand." A girl asked: "If the company was wrong, why the original Michael Jordan brand never sued them before?"

The presenter said: "I'm really worried about what the boy in the street said. If so many people think like him, it is not patriotic, but harmful to our nation. We should have greater expectations of China, not just stop Shanzhai products, such as these fake Jordans or iPads."

Thank you Michelle for pointing me to this video, which is in Chinese but in which Michael Jordan talks English.

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