China gives greenlight to dozens of Trump trademarks

Thu Mar 9, 2017 4:00am EST
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By Adam Jourdan and Eric Walsh

SHANGHAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China has granted preliminary approval for 38 trademarks linked to Donald Trump, documents on China's state trademark office show, giving the U.S. President and his family protection were they to develop the "Trump" brand in the market.

The trademarks - which in theory cover a wide sweep of businesses from hotels to mobile libraries and escorts - underline the complexities and potential concerns over conflicts of interest facing President Trump, who has a sprawling business empire using the Trump name around the world.

Trump, a wealthy real estate developer, has previously said he has handed over his business interests to a trust overseen by one of his sons and a Trump Organization executive. He can, however, revoke the trust at will and, as its sole beneficiary, remains linked to it financially.

The trademarks - mostly variations in English and Chinese on the name "Donald Trump" - were given preliminary approval in two lists published on the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Feb. 27 and Monday.

Trump's lawyers applied for the trademarks in April last year, mostly registered to "Donald J. Trump" and listing to the address of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Some U.S. law makers have raised questions about whether Trump's position as President could prompt preferential treatment of his businesses. Trademark lawyers, however, said that the approval process did not seem that unusual.

"If they were filed in April last year and just now approved, it's fairly normal," said Yong Heng Wu, Shanghai-based counsel for MWE China focused on intellectual property, adding the general timeframe for preliminary approvals was 6-9 months.

"I think the reason why people are paying so much attention to Donald Trump trademarks now is because he became the President of the most powerful country in the world."   Continued...

The headquarters of the China Trademark Office is seen in Beijing, China, March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee