The Michael Jordan Case
On December 8th, the Supreme Court ruled on the dispute between Michael
Jordan and Qiaodan Sports Co., holding that three trademarks registered by
Qiaodan for the Chinese character sound translation of “Jordan” were invalid
as they infringed upon the name rights of Michael Jordan. They thereby
reversed the decision of the Beijing High Court. This was something of a
surprise as, until then, the case was being held out as an illustration of China’s
“first registration” (rather than prior use) rule in IP matters, regardless of how
well known the claimant is.
Although the Court also ruled in seven parallel cases that Jordan had no rights
over the Chinese pinyin transcription (i.e. the romanised phonetic spelling of
the Chinese name) of his name, “qiaodan”, the case is nevertheless a departure
from the rule that first registration of a trade mark in China wins. When
considering also the delays in adjudicating on use of the Trump name until
after the US election result, one might wonder whether factors other than the
letter of the law are being considered in highprofile
On 7 December 2016, the National Development and Reform Commission and
the Ministry of Commerce released a revised draft of the Foreign Investment
Industrial Guidance Catalogue for public comments.
The Catalogue is a key document regulating foreign investment in China. In
essence, it sets out which sectors foreigners can invest in. In October last year,
the emphasis of the Catalogue changed to remove MOFCOM’s approval for
items not proscribed (i.e. on the ‘negative’ list), rather than to require their
approval for everything. However, no negative list has yet been issued.
Now, the structure of the Catalogue is being changed to correct this. The draft
Catalogue groups industries under the two main headings of “encouraged” and
”negative”. The negative list section is then divided into three categories, as
- Encouraged but subject to restrictions on foreign equity holding;
Further detail on the contents of each list is available from Primasia.