SHANGHAI – 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 against squatting to protect the value of the brand. Publicly available records do not indicate why the nine applications were initially rejected, nor 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.
Hi is a cannabis brand. Its logo -- "hi" in white letters inside an orange circle -- can be found above the front door of a Portland, Ore., marijuana shop and on a handful of cannabis products, including massage oil and Hi Releaf pain-relief balm. But you wouldn't guess any of that from Hi's trademark filings. In 2015, the brand's parent company, Cannabis Sativa Inc., filed a trademark application -- not for any of Hi's core products, but for hats, T-shirts and a wide array of other apparel. If the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office signs off on the application, Cannabis Sativa would be able to stop other companies from using the Hi brand on clothing, but it might not be able to stop rivals from setting up Hi-brand marijuana shops or selling knockoff Hi-brand products.
China is defending its handling of trademark applications from President Trump's daughter Ivanka and her company, saying that all such requests are handled fairly. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang was asked about the trademarks Wednesday, a day after the Associated Press reported that Ivanka Trump had won provisional approval for at least five marks since her father's January inauguration. Three of those approvals were granted April 6, the day Ivanka Trump and her husband sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife for dinner at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Read more: Ivanka Trump won Chinese trademarks the same day she dined with China's president » Lu said that China follows the law in granting trademarks and "the principle of giving equal protection to foreign trademark holders." Asked about the timing of the April 6 approvals, Lu said: "There are perhaps some media engaging in hyping certain gossip to hint at something undisclosed.
BEIJING – A Chinese intellectual property court has ruled invalid the trademark given to a character that is remarkably similar to popular Japanese manga character Doraemon, according to local media reports. The trademark, filed by a sports goods company in Fujian province, southeastern China, was rejected by the Beijing court due to copyright infringement, said the reports, including that of the Beijing Youth Daily. Doraemon is also popular in China. The company brought the case to the intellectual property court after the trademark was judged invalid by authorities after it was initially filed. China is strengthening its crackdown on fake products in response to requests from Japan, the United States and other countries.