China grants more trademark approvals for Ivanka Trump firm - including voting machines

Evarado Alatorre
Noviembre 8, 2018

Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, the organization responsible for her trademarks, applied in 2016 for the trademarks that were given initial approval last month.

China last month granted initial approval for 16 new trademarks for the fashion brand of U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and adviser Ivanka, including voting machines, a search of official records on Tuesday (Nov 6) showed.

But that effort has spurred criticism that the Trumps' roles in government smooth the way for the trademark approvals, and that the prospect of future Trump business in China clashes with the White House's attempts to challenge the country over trade.

The latest China trademarks cover things like shoes and jewellery, but also more offbeat items like voting machines and nursing homes, according to a search of records on the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce's Trademark office. They cover branded restaurant, bar and hotel services, as well as clothing and shoes.

United States government watchdog, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said the revelation raises "ethics questions".

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Critics have been especially concerned that China, where the courts and bureaucracy are created to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party, could try to use the Trump family's valuable intellectual property for political leverage.

"Ivanka receives preliminary approval for these new Chinese trademarks while her father continues to wage a trade war with China". The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the trademark approvals, which were first reported by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit group that has previously sued the President over his business interests. "In May 2018, Ivanka Trump's business received approval for several new Chinese trademarks a week before President Trump announced that he wanted to lift the ban on the Chinese company ZTE, for violating USA sanctions".

Lawyers for Donald Trump in Beijing declined to comment. They can be a sign of corporate ambition, but many companies also file defensively, particularly in China, where trademark squatting is rampant. Some trademark lawyers also advise clients to register trademarks for merchandise made in China, even if it's not sold there.

Ethics experts have said Beijing could be seeking to influence the President by awarding him and his family the trademarks, but the Chinese government has dismissed those assertions, emphasizing that authorities follow the law in reviewing all applications.

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