China defends its Trump trademark approvals as in line with law

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BEIJING U.S. President Donald Trump was granted
initial approval on dozens of new trademarks in China because
they met legal standards, a senior Chinese commercial official
said on Friday.

China’s trademark office in recent weeks green-lighted 38
trademark applications linked to Trump, giving the U.S.
president and his family protection were they to develop the “Trump” brand in the market.

The ties between politics and business have, however,
prompted concern from politicians and rights groups who say the
president could face potential conflicts of interest related to
the extensive business affairs of his family.

Some U.S. law makers have raised questions about whether
Trump’s position as president could prompt preferential
treatment of his businesses.

China examines millions of trademark applications every year
and they are processed according to schedule, Zhang Mao, the
head of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce
(SAIC), told reporters after a briefing on the sidelines of the
country’s annual parliament session.

“Our trademark examination process is open and transparent,”
said Zhang, whose SAIC runs the trademarks office.

Asked by reporters whether their approval was at all linked
to Trump’s status as president, Zhang said: “(They) were
processed completely according to trademark law. You can go

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 by the trademark office on Feb. 27 and Monday.

They cover business areas including branded spas, massage
parlours, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real estate
companies, retail shops, restaurants, bars, and bodyguards.

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.

The preliminary approvals are open to be challenged for
around a 90-day period. Barring objections they will be formally
registered in late May and early June respectively.

Trump and his family, like many business owners, hold
trademarks around the world, from business sectors such as
apparel in the Philippines to golf clubs in Australia and
property in Japan and South Korea.

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