China grants more trademark approvals for Ivanka Trump firm - including voting machines


China's government has issued its first trial approval for 16 new trademarks of Ivanka Trump's fashion business, as the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reports.

Trump announced that she is shutting down her fashion brand in order to dedicate her full attention to her newly minted role as informal White House adviser.

The latest China trademarks cover things like shoes and jewellery, but also more offbeat items like voting machines and nursing homes, according to a search of records on the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce's Trademark office. The Trump Organization, the family company that is now run by the President's sons, has also had a slew of trademarks approved by Beijing, many of them after his election victory in 2016. They cover branded restaurant, bar and hotel services, as well as clothing and shoes.

All the trademarks were applied for in 2016.

Mr Trump and his daughter both have substantial intellectual property holdings in China and some have voiced concerns that it paves the way for them to profit when they leave the White House.

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The fashion brand, set up by the presidential daughter, has received approval for the largest batch of trademarks since Donald Trump took office in 2017. Critics worry that China, where the courts and bureaucracy are created to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party, could exploit those valuable rights for political leverage.

USA government watchdog, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said the revelation raises "ethics questions". "Since she has retained her foreign trademarks, the public will continue to have to ask whether President [Donald] Trump has made foreign policy decisions in the interest of his and his family's businesses". "In May 2018, Ivanka Trump's business received approval for several new Chinese trademarks a week before President Trump announced that he wanted to lift the ban on the Chinese company ZTE, for violating U.S. sanctions".

Lawyers for Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump in Beijing declined immediate comment.

Companies register trademarks for a variety of reasons. Trademarks are classified by category and may include items that a brand doesn't intend to market. Some trademark lawyers also advise clients to register trademarks for merchandise made in China, even if it's not sold there.

In a statement CREW said: "Ivanka receives preliminary approval for these new Chinese trademarks while her father continues to wage a trade war with China".