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In 1990, the first year Air Jordans were sold in China, Jordan only registered the English version of his name. This freed up companies such as Qiaodan, a transliteration of Jordan's name in Chinese, to freely rip off his brand.
To a novice, and from a distance, the sneakers look very similar to signature Air Jordans. The copies, of course, go for a fraction of the retail price of the originals. For example, a pair of Nike Air Jordan 7s will run you $190. Qiaodan's version is listed at $55.10, including free shipping, on the company's official website.
Experts say this is a problem many American retailers have encountered in China. In America, a trademark is given to whomever uses it first. In China, it's given to whomever files for it first. Typically, American companies wind up paying Chinese firms, who've trademarked U.S. brand names in their native tongue, huge sums of money, according to NPR.
It's a matter Jordan has unsuccessfully fought in court.
"It's something that I own. When someone takes advantage and misrepresents that, I think it's left up to me to protect that, " Jordan said. "I have no other choice but to turn to the courts."