Basketball legend Michael Jordan has filed a lawsuit in China against Qiaodan Sports Company, accusing the sportswear firm of unauthorized use of his name.
Qiaodan Sports Company Ltd. has been profiting by illegally using "Qiaodan," the Chinese version of his name, and his jersey number on its marketing materials and products since the 1980s, Jordan said in a prepared statement Thursday as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
"I feel the need to protect my name, my identity, and the Chinese consumers," Jordan said in a video on a website devoted to his claims against Qiaodan Sports. "It's not about the money. It's about principle -- protecting my identity and my name," he said.
Any damages he received would be invested in promoting basketball in China, he said.
Jordan filed the case on Tuesday in a Chinese court.
Qiaodan Sports defended its use of the name and said it has the exclusive right to the Qiaodan trademark, Reuters reported.
A spokesman declined further comment to the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper reported that Qiaodan Sports first registered for the rights to use Jordan's Chinese moniker in 1997, when it also applied to use the name with the logo of a baseball player at bat, according to the trademark office of China' State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Over the past few years, the company has become the Olympic partner of Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. And in 2010, it became the official partner of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), according to Reuters.
The company posted a profit of 341.5 million yuan on 1.7 billion yuan in revenue for last year's first half, according to the Wall Street Journal.