China grants 18 trade­marks in 2 months to Trump, daugh­ter

The Myanmar Times - - Business | International -

THE Chi­nese gov­ern­ment granted 18 trade­marks to com­pa­nies linked to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his daugh­ter Ivanka Trump over the last two months, Chi­nese pub­lic records show, rais­ing con­cerns about con­flicts of in­ter­est in the White House.

In Oc­to­ber, China’s Trade­mark Of­fice granted pro­vi­sional ap­proval for 16 trade­marks to Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, bring­ing to 34 the to­tal num­ber of marks China has green­lighted this year, ac­cord­ing to the of­fice’s on­line data­base. The new ap­provals cover Ivanka-branded fash­ion gear in­clud­ing sun­glasses, hand­bags, shoes and jew­elry, as well as beauty ser­vices and vot­ing ma­chines.

The ap­provals came three months af­ter Ivanka Trump an­nounced she was dis­solv­ing her name­sake brand to fo­cus on gov­ern­ment work.

China also granted pro­vi­sional ap­proval for two “Trump” trade­marks to DTTM Op­er­a­tions LLC, head­quar­tered at Trump Tower on Fifth Av­enue in New York. They cover branded res­tau­rant, bar and ho­tel ser­vices, as well as cloth­ing and shoes.

The marks will be fi­nal­ized if there is no ob­jec­tion dur­ing a 90-day com­ment pe­riod. All the trade­marks were ap­plied for in 2016.

“These trade­marks were sought to broadly pro­tect Ms. Trump’s name, and to pre­vent oth­ers from steal­ing her name and us­ing it to sell their prod­ucts,” Peter Mir­i­ja­nian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s ethics at­tor­ney, said in an email. “This is a com­mon trade­mark prac­tice, which is why the trade­mark ap­pli­ca­tions were granted.”

Both the pres­i­dent and his daugh­ter have sub­stan­tial in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty hold­ings in China. Crit­ics worry that China, where the courts and bu­reau­cracy are de­signed to re­flect the will of the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party, could ex­ploit those valu­able rights for po­lit­i­cal lever­age.

There has also been con­cern that the Trump fam­ily’s global in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty port­fo­lio lays the ground­work for the pres­i­dent and his daugh­ter, who serves as a White House ad­viser, to profit from their global brands as soon as they leave of­fice.

“Ivanka re­ceives pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval for these new Chi­nese trade­marks while her fa­ther con­tin­ues to wage a trade war with China. Since she has re­tained her for­eign trade­marks, the pub­lic will con­tinue to have to ask whether Pres­i­dent Trump has made for­eign pol­icy de­ci­sions in the in­ter­est of his and his fam­ily’s busi­nesses,” wrote Cit­i­zens for Re­spon­si­bil­ity and Ethics in Wash­ing­ton, a gov­ern­ment watch­dog group that first pub­lished the news about Ivanka Trump brand’s new Chi­nese trade­marks.

Lawyers for Don­ald Trump in Bei­jing de­clined to com­ment.

Com­pa­nies reg­is­ter trade­marks for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. They can be a sign of cor­po­rate am­bi­tion, but many com­pa­nies also file de­fen­sively, par­tic­u­larly in China, where trade­mark squat­ting is ram­pant. Trade­marks are clas­si­fied by cat­e­gory and may in­clude items that a brand does not in­tend to mar­ket. Some trade­mark lawyers also ad­vise clients to reg­is­ter trade­marks for mer­chan­dise made in China, even if it’s not sold there.

China has said it han­dles all trade­mark ap­pli­ca­tions equally un­der the law.

Photo:AP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and daugh­ter Ivanka.

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