He shoots, he scores!
This can be said about Michael Jordan aka MJ on the basketball court, but this week Michael Jordan scored big in a different kind of court. Michael Jordan sued supermarket chain Safeway for the use of his name without his permission. In 2009, Dominick’s (now Safeway) placed an ad in a commemorative issue Sports Illustrated published for Jordan’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. But Jordan’s lawyers and Jordan himself testified that his endorsement history suggests he would not have taken that deal. Here’s the ad in question.
Sadly, the steak coupon has been redeemed by only two people since the ad came out. Now, The owner of Safeway must pay MJ $8.9 million for using his name and promoting a product in an ad without his permission.
“I’m pleased with today’s verdict,” Jordan said in a statement. “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. I hope this case sends a clear message, both here in the United States and around the world, that I will continue to be vigilant about protecting my name and identity. I also hope the size of the monetary reward will deter others from using someone else’s identity and believe they will only pay a small penalty.”
The jury deliberated for 6 hours before coming to a verdict and even sent a note to the judge, saying: “We need a calculator.” while trying to calculate the amount owed to Jordan.
The trial also revealed MJ’s income through endorsements including $480 million that was paid to him by Nike from 2000 to 2012. Jordan also revealed he turned down an $80 million offer to endorse headphones.
Safeway, on the other hand was in a much more dire situation during the trial. The company bought Dominick’s in 1998 for $1.2 billion but closed all stores by the end of 2013. The Jordan lawsuit was the bitter end of a huge money-losing venture. Three weeks ago, Jordan lost a legal battle to stop a company in China called Qiaodan Sports, even though the name means “Jordan,” it has a similar silhouette to the Jumpman logo and it uses the number 23.