A Chinese company is legally selling fake Air Jordans

NBA

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, except when the imitator is making a killing off your originality and there's nothing you can do about it. 

Nike finds itself in such a predicament. Chinese sneaker company Qiaodan Sports makes hundreds of millions of dollars selling knock-off Air Jordan sneakers. Due to a loophole in Chinese law, the brand, which has an estimated 6,000 locations, is able to operate legally, Sole Collector reports. 

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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

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'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."

Nike plans to take the matter to China's Supreme Court.