Michael Jordan is suing a Chinese sportswear and sneaker maker called Qiaodan for using his name and number 23 to promote and sell products without his authorization.
In a statement about the suit Michael Jordan said, “It is deeply disappointing to see a company build a business off my Chinese name without my permission, use the number 23 and even attempt to use the names of my children.”
He added, “I am taking this action to preserve ownership of my name and my brand.”
After the success of the Nike “Air Jordan” line, it spun off its own line and brand headed by the NBA legend himself.
Jordan claims that the unendorsed use of his brand by Qiaodan is misleading to Chinese consumers in a land where basketball is gaining popularity.
“This complaint is not about money. It’s about principle and protecting my name. Any monetary awards I might receive will be invested in growing the sport of basketball in China,” he added.
The suit was filed in a Chinese court on Tuesday for an undisclosed amount.
Product piracy in the People’s Republic of China has become a serious problem, leading to the government to create a comprehensive legal framework to protect both local and foreign intellectual property. However, despite this, copyright violations are still common in China, and intellectual property violations are committed by prominent members of the automotive and electronics industries typically.