Top court gives guidance for grassroots hearings

( Updated : 2020-01-15

China's top court publicized 27 influential cases and their rulings on Jan 14 to guide hearings of similar disputes by grassroots courts and ensure laws are applied accurately.

The cases highlighted by the Supreme People's Court included three on intellectual property rights and 10 on environment and ecological protection.

In a high-profile intellectual property lawsuit involving basketball legend Michael Jordan in 2016, Tao Kaiyuan, vice-president of the top court and also the case's chief judge, ruled the registered trademark of Chinese company Qiaodan Sports infringed on Jordan's right to his name and violated provisions of the Trademark Law.

"Qiaodan" as a transliteration of "Jordan" in Chinese characters had a strong connection to the basketball player from the United States, and many Chinese would think it was Jordan when they saw Qiaodan written in Chinese, the ruling said.

Tao ordered the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to revoke the trademark and issue a new ruling over the use of Chinese characters in the brand name Qiaodan.

Wu Zhaoxiang, deputy director of the top court's research division, highlighted the significance of the lawsuit at a news conference on Tuesday, saying the conclusion of the case showed China was a globally responsible protector of intellectual property.

The ruling regulated trademark registration and clarified the conditions under which trademark rights could be protected, Wu said, adding that it also showed the top court had recognized the litigants' rights to protect their names, no matter where they were from.

The 10 environment-related cases mainly covered public-interest litigation and environmental restoration.

"We hope the disclosure can further enhance the public's legal awareness and pose a bigger threat to polluters," Wu said.