Said one intellectual property attorney, "The speed with which these appeals were decided is mind-blowing."
The Associated Press reports today on China's sudden decision to overturn the nation's prior rejection of 9 Trump-related trademarks. Trump's brand will be better protected in China now, so he can cash in on Chinese-ified versions of his name for a wide range of businesses that even include bodyguards, escort services, and massage ladies.
Trump has received 39 new trademarks since becoming President of the United States. If there are no objections, the newly granted provisional trademarks become formally registered in China after 90 days.
The Chinese government has granted preliminary approval for nine Donald Trump trademarks it had previously rejected, in whole or in part, The Associated Press found, a turn that is likely to fuel further allegations that Beijing may be giving the president's family business special treatment.
Trump's decision to retain ownership of his global branding empire has sparked criticism over perceived conflicts of interest and three lawsuits, including one filed Wednesday by nearly 200 Democrats in Congress, which allege violations of a constitutional prohibition against accepting gifts from foreign governments. Trademarks lie at the heart of these complaints because they are granted by foreign states and can be enormously valuable — whether they are intended as groundwork for future business activity or defensive measures to protect a brand from squatters.
Publicly available records do not indicate why the nine applications were initially rejected, or why the trademarks were then granted provisional approval eight to 15 weeks later.
"The speed with which these appeals were decided is mind-blowing," said Matthew Dresden, an intellectual property attorney at Harris Bricken in Seattle. "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."
China's Trademark Office did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
You Yunting, a partner at DeBund Law Offices in Shanghai, said it's not unusual for trademark rejections to be overturned on appeal. China's Trademark Office database contained no indication Trump's lawyers had appealed the trademark rejections, but said it can take months for such actions to be publicly noted. If the initial denial was only partial, some elements of the applications can move forward without an appeal, in which case reversals can be swift.
"Considering the political element, the authorities are definitely not going to admit special treatment, but the possibility cannot be excluded," You said. "Even if the Trademark Office helped Trump, it would be very difficult to find the wrongdoing on the surface."
PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, REUTERS