The case of Michael Jordan vs Dominick’s Finer Foods has made news. The website trusttreetrademarks.com is just one example. But they are missing a few points.
Dominick’s used the brands to sell steaks. Altough there are three steak hoses using Michael Jordan. One is in NYC, in Connecticut, and in Chicago. Here are the websites www.michaeljordansteakhouse.com.
A quick online search for “Michael Jordan Steak” leads to among others wikipedia, where one can read:
The company has a line of USDA Prime Steaks, sauces, condiments, grillware and collectibles, under the Michael Jordan Steaks brand. The steaks can be ordered on their website and shipped directly to customers nationwide.
So, Dominick’s used the brand in a product category, where Michael Jordan is using / licensing it already. And that was not difficult to find.
Michael Jordan has profited from his brands quite substantially. And no proprietor of a valuable brand can afford to lose it, But this happens, if you do not defend it. If Michael Jordan had not filed suit, he was in danger of losing his brand, at least in that category.
Dominick’s could have asked for a license. It is not that difficult.