Currently, trademark protection is becoming one of the hottest
topics in China. The latest headlines include the NBA star Michael
Jordan suing the Chinese sportswear and footwear manufacture
Qiaodan Sports Joint Stock Company for the alleged infringement
over his name right, the preemptive registration of the mark
"LIN SHU HAO (Jeremy Lin's Chinese name)", and the
domain name "lingshuhao.com" being for sale at a high
These trademark-related cases have drawn great attention among
scholars and China's online community (often referred to as
"netizens"). Most netizens gave their opinions in a
rational manner and appealed for fair treatment over the parties
involved within the purview of relevant laws and regulations. Some
netizens acknowledged that China has changed from a single and
occlusive market to an open and international one and the
interaction and competition with foreign companies are more
intensified than before. China will be left far behind if the
market lacks honesty and legal rules.
Some scholars have the view that for some Chinese companies,
free riding on others' famous brands or names may be of great
help in the early stages of their business, so as to boost sales or
increase popularity; yet it is definitely a time bomb for the
company in the long run. For Jordan Sports, whether the case is
decided in its favor or not, the damage on its business is
Furthermore, recent cases also indicate that some foreign
companies are not attaching sufficient significance to Chinese
laws. Ongoing cases warn foreign companies that respecting and
studying national laws is a prerequisite to doing business in
China. On the other hand, the heated discussion on trademark issues
implies that IP protection has became a focus of attention among
Chinese citizens, as well as the media and society in general. The
attention from the public will apply pressure on Chinese
enterprises to change their IP protection strategies while
endeavoring to update their manufacturing and management style.
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