China Approves New Trump-Branded Massage Parlors, Bars and Escort Services

In this case the trademarks give the president and his family protection and cover business areas including branded spas, massage parlors, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real estate companies, retail shops, restaurants, bars and bodyguard services.

The trademark approvals were first reported Wednesday by The Associated Press. If no objections they will be formally registered in late May and early June respectively.

The Trump Organization, President Trump's company, applied for 38 trademarks in China in April 2016, during the presidential campaign.

The AP report fuels further speculation that the president may violate the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents public officials from accepting gifts or titles from a foreign state without the consent of Congress.

Dan Plane, a director at the Hong Kong IP consulting group Simone IP Services, told the AP that it's likely Communist Party officials are monitoring the president's IP interests.

"For this many marks to all sail through to preliminary approval this quickly, with nary an issue in sight - that is unheard of to me, and I have been doing this for 16 years, " he said.

If Trump doesn't "distance himself from his business operations - that is where the ethical issues come up", said Matthew Dresden, a partner at law firm Harris Bricken, who specializes in intellectual property in China.

His political opponents alleged that the sudden change of heart at the Chinese trademark office was evidence that Mr Trump is reaping commercial benefits from the presidency, potentially breaching the constitution.

And now it's Ivanka Trump's turn, who appears to be more popular than her father in China: 258 trademark applications have been submitted under variations of her name recently for products ranging from diet pills to sanitary napkins, and none of them are actually linked to her. In fact, in China, Trump is already the victim of many instances of it.

"President Trump is compromising the integrity of the office of the president and it's absolutely essential that he divest or set up a blind trust of his assets in order to protect the integrity of that office", Cardin said.

Trump and his attorney Sheri Dillon said in January that the plan to turn over business interests to his sons and donate income from foreign sources to the U.S. Treasury insulates the president from conflicts of interest during his term in office, David Weisberg noted in The Hill.

"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 worldwide trademark law", he said in a statement.

Ben Cardin (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has been bird-dogging Trump on emoluments, released a statement.

  • Rogelio Becker