While Donald Trump continues to suffer loss after loss in court in the US, the president’s luck has been much, much better in China where courts recently granted preliminary approval for nine more Trump trademarks that had previously been rejected.
Trump’s organization now enjoys the provisional rights to use the Chinese versions of his name on businesses like beauty salon services, advertising services, human resources consulting and socks, as well as use his English name to market jewelry and watch repair, the Associated Press reports.
In the murky field of Chinese trademark law, it’s not clear why these trademark applications were initially rejected or why they have now been granted provisional approval. As long as no one objects to them, however; they will be formally rubber-stamped in 90 days.
After struggling in Chinese courts for years to defend his brand, Trump has had dozens of trademarks granted approval since he took office in January. Thanks to this winning streak, the president’s company has the legal rights in China to sell Trump-branded hotels, gold clubs, real estate services and, most intriguingly, Trump escort services.
Of course, it’s important to point out that companies often make trademark applications in order to prevent other companies from doing so first and besmirching their good name — though that would appear difficult to do in this case.
Still, all this winning at the Chinese trademark office has raised yet more concerns about how foreign governments can use the president’s beloved brand to curry favor and influence American policy. While this is, of course, difficult to prove, experts have noticed that Trump’s trademarks have been going through the courts in China with shocking speed.
“The speed with which these appeals were decided is mind-blowing,” Matthew Dresden, an intellectual property attorney in Seattle, told the AP. “I have never seen any decisions made that quickly. That suggests special treatment. But that’s just procedural. Substantively, it’s impossible to say whether any of this is unusual.”
But it’s this kind of casual mixing of private business interests and public office power that has led nearly 200 Congressional Democrats to file a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that Trump is in violation of a constitutional prohibition against accepting gifts from foreign governments.
Though, Trump hasn’t been the only one winning bigly at the Chinese trademark office. Ivanka Trump’s brand has also had at least 14 trademark applications granted preliminary approval since the president’s daughter took on an official role at the White House. In fact, on the very same day that Ivanka met with Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, her company was granted the right to sell Ivanka-branded jewerly, bags and spa services.
China has defended its handling of the Ivanka trademarks as fair and in line with Chinese law. Meanwhile, Ivanka’s company has said that the trademarks were filed defensively, in order to protect Ivanka’s brand in China, where it has become a particularly hot commodity.
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat