News Mar 09, 2017 09:04 AM EST

China gives preliminary approval for dozens of Trump-related trademarks in businesses

By April Kirstin Chua

China has granted preliminary approval for 35 new Trump-related trademarks that covers anything from hotels, golf clubs, bodyguard and concierge services among others. Nine of the Trump-related trademarks applications were approved on Feb. 27 and 26 were approved on Monday.

President Donald Trump applied for 39 trademarks in China in April 2016 despite being busy with the presidential campaign. Trump's lawyers in China told reporters that the business is simply trying to protect Trump trademark from anyone who might try to use the name to its advantage.

Alan Garten, a Trump Organization lawyer, said that the company has been "actively enforcing its intellectual property rights in China for more than a decade."

Ethics lawyers have continuously questioned Trump's business dealings, which potentially violates the Foreign Emoluments Clause and pose a conflict of interest now that he has sat as president. Other than that, Trump attracted attention last November when he attempted to secure trademarks in China after the government approved a construction-related trademark. Trump had sought trademark in China for years but it wasn't only after he got elected that such were granted.

Senator Ben Cardin, a known Democrat, finds the trademark approvals a major concern and claims that the timing was a deliberate decision by China. Garten clarified that Trump trademarks in his real estate business have been registered in China since 2011, which is years before Trump announced candidacy. "The latest registrations are a natural result of those longstanding, diligent efforts and any suggestion to the contrary demonstrates a complete disregard of the facts as well as a lack of understanding of international trademark law," Garten said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Trump was granted preliminary approval that means objections to the trademarks can be filed three months from the date the authorities release their decision. If there are no objections, then the Trump trademarks become officially registered in China. It must be noted that apart from Trump, many companies register trademarks in China only to prevent others from using the name inappropriately.

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