China has given preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, opening opportunities for the president and his family to develop branded businesses in the country, including hotels, golf clubs, and bodyguard and concierge services.
The Associated Press reports that China’s Trademark Office published the preliminary approvals on Feb. 27 and on Monday. The trademarks will be formally registered after 90 days, as long as no one objects.
Trump’s lawyers in China applied for the trademarks in April 2016 during the president’s election campaign. Ethics lawyers told the AP that the China trademarks raise concerns over potential conflicts of interest. If Trump receives preferential treatment in the process of getting the trademark rights, it would violate the U.S. Constitution rule that prohibits public servants from receiving valuable gifts from foreign governments, unless it is approved by Congress.
Dan Plane, an intellectual property consultant in Hong Kong, told the AP that Trump’s trademark applications were approved unusually quickly.
“For all these marks to sail through so quickly and cleanly, with no similar marks, no identical marks, no issues with specifications — boy, it’s weird,” he said.