BEIJING -- Star basketballer Yao Ming has filed a lawsuit against a local sportswear producer for name and portrait infringements, the Yao Team announced here on Thursday.
Yao sued Wuhan Yunhe Dashayu Sportswear Co Ltd for using Yaomingyidai, or Yao Ming Era in English, without Yao's authorization, as a brand name.
Lu Hao, member of the Yao Team, said the company also used Yao Ming's signatures and portraits on their products and during their promotion activities around the country.
None of the products and activities are authorized by Yao Ming, who has a sportswear contract with Reebok, Lu said.
Lu did not disclose more details of the lawsuit, saying seeking compensations is not the aim of this legal action. "We want to send out a word that such infringements are not tolerated by Yao Ming."
Yao Ming had registered "Yao Ming" as a trademark in several fields in 2002 to protect his rights. The 31-year-old is planning to use his name as a sportswear brand, just as former gymnastics star Li Ning did after he retired.
There are a dozen of companies and individuals who have registered Yao-Ming-related trademarks in China, like Yao Ming World, Yao Ming Empire, Yao Ming Rockets etc. Most of these trademarks are not printed on products.
Yaomingyidai, however, has become a popular brand in Hubei province, and is planning to sell their products nationwide.
Yao Ming and his promotion team had negotiated with the company several times in the past few years, but the Wuhan company never stopped producing shoes and garments with Yao Ming's printed signature.
Local reports claimed the Wuhan company has relationship with Shanghai Sharks's former head coach Li Qiuping and former general manager Li Yaomin. Yao Ming played for the Sharks before he was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2002.
Lu said he had no information about Li Qiuping and Li Yaomin being involved in the issue.