🖤 Donations of all sizes power our public service journalism Give Now
BBC World Service

Michael Jordan defends his name against Chinese company

Adriene Hill Feb 24, 2012

Adriene Hill: Basketball star Michael Jordan is suing a Chinese company that makes sportswear. He says Qiodan is using his name without permission, and has filed suit in a Chinese court.

For more we go to the BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing. Good morning.

Martin Patience: Good morning.

Hill: What is Michael Jordan accusing this Chinese company of doing wrong, exactly?

Patience: Well he’s accusing this firm of unauthorized use of his name. Now Michael Jordan in Chinese is called “Qiodan.” And certainly in China — China is basketball crazy, and Michael Jordan or “Qiodan” is a name that can be used to sell sportswear. So that’s what he’s accusing this firm of doing — unofficially using his name.

Hill: So what happens from here, then?

Patience: Well he’s filed a case in a Chinese court. It’s not clear how that will proceed. But certainly this is a continuing issue in China. I think the argument would be that they’re not using the Michael Jordan brand per se, they’re using the Qiodan brand, which is obviously his Chinese name.

Hill: Now in the past we’ve also heard allegations of entirely fake Apple stores; almost completely recreated American trucks — like a Ford F 150; what’s going on?

Patience: Well, the rule of law in China is weakened copyright laws are often flaunted. Just to give you an example, in Beijing, I don’t know where’d I’d go to buy a genuine DVD of a Hollywood film. That’s how pervasive the problem is.

In terms of copyright, China would say that it’s a developing country; this is an issue in the developing world. Authorities say they are trying to take tougher measures. But when you speak to companies here, they say this is a problem that the Chinese authorities simply haven’t got a hold of.

Hill: The BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing, thanks.

Patience: Thank you.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.