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Michael Jordan wins trademark case in China's top court

Basketball icon Michael Jordan Image copyright Getty Images

China's supreme court has ruled in favour of US basketball legend Michael Jordan in a trademark dispute.

The People's Supreme Court ruled a Chinese sportswear company must stop using the characters for Jordan's name, read as Qiaodan in Chinese.

Qiaodan Sports registered the name more than a decade ago but Jordan's lawyers said it built its business around his Chinese name without his permission.

Jordan has welcomed the decision which overturns previous rulings against him.

"I am happy that the Supreme People's Court has recognized the right to protect my name through its ruling in the trademark cases," he said in a statement sent to the BBC.

"Chinese consumers deserve to know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me."

"Nothing is more important than protecting your own name, and today's decision shows the importance of that principle."

The basketball star first started legal action against Qiaodan Sports in 2012.

His team argued that Qiaodan's trademarks had damaged his legal rights to use his name and asked the court to invalidate more than 60 trademarks used by the company.

Partial victory

The court agreed Qiaodan Sports had violated trademark law and its registration of the name should be revoked.

But his win is only a partial victory.

While the company cannot use Jordan's Chinese name, the court upheld a ruling allowing it to use the Romanized version of Qiaodan, pronounced "Chee-ow-dahn."

A Shanghai court is yet to hear a separate naming rights case.

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