Everyone wanted to be like Mike. Really, everyone still wants to be like Mike. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of a generation, if not the best basketball player ever. His iconic dunking silhouette; his many game-winning jumpers; and his incredible ability to sell products made him an international superstar, an icon of icons.
As a result, he endorsed a lot of products, and being associated with his name is practically a certainty to help any business. And that's where today's story starts. When two grocery chains used Michael Jordan's image without permission, the superstar filed lawsuits against them.
The first grocery store, Dominick's, used an image of Jordan's number 23 in an advertisement that, on the bottom, had a cut-out coupon for steaks. The ad was meant to congratulate Jordan for making the Hall of Fame. The other grocery store, Jewel-Osco, took out a page-long advertisement -- also congratulating Jordan for making the Hall of Fame. In both ads, the grocery stores' logos are visible.
Jordan sued Dominick's and won $8.9 million, while the Jewel-Osco suit is still pending.
It may seem a little harsh to sue these grocery stores over a congratulatory message. However, Jordan's likeness is incredibly valuable, and he gets to say how that likeness is used. Jordan also isn't looking to profit from these lawsuits -- he says he will give all the money he makes from the lawsuits to charity.
It's a very interesting story, and it shows that businesses aren't the only ones that have images, products, and ideas that need protecting.