The Chinese government has granted Trump trademark protection for the use of the Trump name in the construction industry.
According to CNN:
Trump fought unsuccessfully in Chinese courts for years to try to gain control of the trademark, but his fortunes changed suddenly last year during the latter stages of his campaign for the White House.
China’s trademark review board announced in September it had invalidated a rival claim for the Trump trademark, clearing the way for Trump to move in. In November, soon after the election, it awarded the trademark to the Trump Organization. The trademark was officially registered this week after a three-month notice period for objections expired.
The sequence of events raises alarms for government ethics experts.
“China is going to want concessions from Mr. Trump, and this is now the first in what will be a series of efforts to influence him,” said Norman Eisen, a White House ethics counsel under President Obama. Eisen is working with C.R.E.W. (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) and has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court for violating the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign payments through his business ventures.
The Chinese Government awarded the trademark to Trump for 10 years for construction services in his own name. It is thought to be the first trademark awarded to Trump since he was elected.
The final decision comes days after Trump reversed course and agreed to keep the “One China” policy, which has been in place since President Carter, who switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979.
The trademark, which aims to provide real-estate-agent services in commercial and residential properties in China, was then provisionally approved after a year-long legal fight, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The reasons for Mr Trump’s victory in the case are unclear and come more than 10 years after Trump first registered his trademark in China, in 2006. Last week, the White House confirmed that after a “lengthy phone call” with China President Xi Jinping, the White House said that the two “discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘One China’ policy”.
Trump has 49 pending trademark application in China and 77 have already been registered in his own name. Most of these will come up for renewal during Trump’s term as President. Business interests could be used by foreign government as leverage over and would violate the first article of the Constitution, which bans holders of public office from receiving financial benefits from foreign governments. Any special treatment from China would mean Mr Trump was effectively accepting gifts from Beijing.
China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which oversees the Trademark Office, and the foreign ministry could not be reached for comment.