China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for the president and his family to acquire a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance, the Associated Press reported. Trump's lawyers applied for the trademarks in April 2016 while then-candidate Donald Trump rallied against China, accusing it of stealing jobs and manipulating currency.
This latest development has some worried about potential conflicts of interest.
Unless granted permission from Congress, it would be unconstitutional for President Trump to receive any special treatment in securing trademark rights since the U.S. Constitution bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign entities.
Dan Plane, a director at Simone IP Services, a Hong Kong intellectual property consultancy, said he had never seen so many trademark applications move through the system so quickly.
The Beijing law firm that has represented the Trump Organization declined to comment on the trademarks, but she did say that she has advised clients to take out trademarks defensively, even in categories of goods and services that may not aim to develop.
"I don't see any special treatment for the cases of my clients so far," she added. "I think they're very fair and the examination standard is very equal for every applicant."
If no one objects, the trademarks will be formally registered after 90 days. All but three are in Trump's name.
China already registered one trademark to the president for Trump-branded construction services on Feb. 14.