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Yao Ming sues Chinese company to protect brand, name

May 16, 2011, 11:35 AM EDT

Yao_autographs

When you’re an international brand — and make no mistake, Yao Ming is an international brand — then you have to work internationally to protect it.

Which explains why Yao is suing a Chinese sportswear company, as reported by the Associated Press (via SLAM).

Xinhua News Agency reported Friday that the injured Houston Rockets center had sued Wuhan Yunhe Sharks Sportswear Co. for putting his name and logo “Yao Ming Era” on its shoes. It said the lawsuit was filed in Wuhan, the capital of central Hubei province.

Yao has a licensing agreement with Reebok. Copyright infringement is widespread in China, with rampant illegal copying of products from software to music and even medicine.

Yao’s future in the NBA is in question, a series of ankle and foot injuries have him a free agent. He wants to play again, and some team may take a shot on him with an incentive-laden contract, but whether he can ever step on the court again in a meaningful way remains to be seen.

But either way, his name and brand have a lot of value. Value that needs to be protected.

  1. craigw24 - May 16, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    As long as copy-write issues are about people and other companies the Chinese don’t really care whether or not Chinese companies infringe on others.

    Now the shoe is on the other foot and a global Chinese icon is being harmed by what their government has been looking the other way on.

    Perhaps this is the start of an awakening about cooperating with the entire world for the Chinese. They had to start growing up sometime.

  2. olsherm - May 16, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    I may sound stupid but Yao could be a good fit with the heat in free agency after all they need a center

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