On October 13, 2018, the Trademark Office of China awarded preliminary approval for 16 trademark applications from Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump. The approvals were notable for their timing and also raised eyebrows for covering a grab-bag of products.
In preparation for its recent article China greenlights large batch of Ivanka Trump Trademark Applications focusing on trademark applications of the president’s daughter in China, The Washington Post, a renowned daily newspaper published in Washington, interviewed several well-known experts in this field, including Charles Feng, a partner with East & Concord Partners.
The October approvals came as President Trump was locked in a trade standoff with China, which raised public concerns about the possible political factors under these trademark applications. The private attorney of Ivanka explained that “this is a common trademark practice and these trademarks were sought to prevent others from stealing her name”.
Regardless of Ivanka Trump’s motives, Charles Feng said, the practice of “trademark squatting” —a firm applying for valuable trademarks with tenuous or nonexistent connections to the name for illicit economic interests—is real in China, and highly widespread.
Mr. Feng noted that more than 500 trademark applications have been made with either Ivanka Trump’s name in Roman letters or Chinese characters and the real Ivanka Trump submitted only 53 of the applications, while Chinese companies and individuals lodged the rest. “The squatters are really a problem in China, and the authorities get a ton of applications every day, which burdens the authorities with so much unnecessary workload” said Mr. Feng, “the situation could only be fundamentally improved by timely and effective examination and rejection of the applications as well as punishment on the squatters according to the Article 7 of PRC Trademark Law which provides the principle of honesty. The on-going amendment of the PRC Trademark Law has taken this point into consideration”, added Feng, who also participated in the lobby for the amendment with Chinese legislative bodies.
Click here for the article of the Washington Post: