May 29, 2018
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Ivanka Trump brand awarded multiple highly coveted Chinese trademarks

May 29, 2018

Ivanka Trump's brand has received seven highly coveted trademarks issued by China, raising questions about an improper exchange between her brand and the US and Chinese governments.

Ivanka Trump at the State Dinner - Instagram @ivankatrump

Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, said in a statement that filing for the trademarks was "in the normal course of business,” particularly in China where trademark infringement is a frequent threat to business.

The seven trademarks cover Ivanka Trump product across home and fashion categories, including cushions, housewares and books.

Questions of the impropriety of a deal were first raised by consumer watchdog groups, linking the award of the Chinese trademarks to a statement made by President Trump that he would protect Chinese telecom company ZTE despite it violating various business and trade rules that other companies must abide by to do business with the US.

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, and Norman Eisen, chairman of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington watchdog groups, wrote on Yahoo News that "some countries will no doubt see this as a way to curry favor with President Trump."

"Other countries may see the business requests made by [President Trump's] daughter’s company as requests they cannot refuse," they continued.

Five of the seven trademarks were approved days before President Trump announced he would help ZTE despite its alleged trade violations. The New York Times reports that two more trademarks in food and home products were issued, bringing the total amount of Ivanka Trump brand trademarks in China to 34.

Despite the coincidence of timing between the trademarks and the president's ZTE comments, China does have a challenging environment for protecting intellectual property. There are 10 registrants for "Ivanka" trademarks that are not owned by Ivanka Trump or her brand, Charles Feng, head of East & Concord Partners' intellectual property division, told the New York Times. 

Ivanka Trump is currently a federal employee, serving as a White House advisor. She handed over the operational leadership of her company to Abigail Klem before assuming her government role to avoid conflict of interest issues between her private business when she became a public employee. Nevertheless, the Trump family's personal gain continues to be called into question as they carry out their roles in public office.

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