Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the GOAT on the basketball court. With so much fame and fortune, the NBA Hall of Famer has, unfortunately, found himself in court on numerous occasions through the years defending his name and his brand. Now, Jordan and Nike are looking at a future appearance in court as the two have been sued in a case of copyright and trademark infringement for a whopping $30 million.
Michael Jordan lawsuits against others
In 2012, Nike and Michael Jordan filed a lawsuit against Qiaodan Sports in China for trademark infringement and using the Jordan name illegally. Qiaodan, which means “Jordan” in Mandarin, is a sports brand in China that has been the subject of similar lawsuits in the past from companies including Nike and Adidas.
In April 2020, the Supreme People’s Court ruled in favor of the Jordan Brand. In the decision, the ruling recognized Jordan’s right to protect his name across China. As a result of the high court’s decision, Qiaodan Sports will no longer be able to use the Chinese characters for “Jordan.”
In another case, Jordan filed a $10 million lawsuit in 2009 against Dominick’s, supermarket chain owned by Safeway, which used Jordan’s name in an ad for a $2 steak coupon that was placed in a Sports Illustrated commemorative issue in honor of Jordan’s induction into the Hall of Fame. In 2015, a jury awarded Jordan $8.9 million.
“No one — whether or not they’re a public figure — should have to worry about their identity being used without their permission. The case was not about the money as I plan to donate the proceeds to charity. It was about honesty and integrity,” Jordan said in a statement.
Jordan sued by obsessed fan
While Michael Jordan has been the plaintiff in multiple cases, he’s also been the defendant several times as well. In 2006, Jordan faced a bizarre lawsuit when a Portland, Oregon man sued the basketball superstar and Nike for $832 million. The reason—Allen Heckard claimed that he was tired of people mistaking him for Jordan.
In the official lawsuit, which Heckard paid the $206 filing fee, he sued Jordan for defamation and permanent injury as well as emotional pain and suffering. He also sued Nike founder Phil Knight for helping to make Jordan one of the most recognized men in the world.
Heckard, who never had an attorney, eventually lost interest in his own case and never pursued it.
Michael Jordan and Nike face lawsuit seeking $30 million
Heckard’s lawsuit against Michael Jordan and Nike proved to be more of a publicity stunt than anything else. Jordan and Nike, however, are now the subject of another lawsuit by a New York designer who is alleging the Jordan Brand used its logo design for a line of NBA All-Star Weekend apparel without permission.
The designer, Rocco Giordano, accused Nike and its co-defendants of trademark and copyright infringement. He is seeking $30 million in damages. The suit alleges that Nike’s Jordan Brand used a six-point star design in its Jordan Chicago Collaborators’ Collection that is identical to the logo used by Giordano’s brand, Faded Royalty.
According to Fox Business, Giordano only learned about Nike’s design after he received “congratulatory messages from friends in the fashion industry.”
Giordano said he produced the original logo in 2000 and obtained a trademark for the design in 2012. The claim argues the design was well-known by its nationally televised appearances as well as its availability at pop-up stores for Giordano’s brand in New York City. The designer is also seeking a permanent injunction against further use of the design.