President-elect Donald Trump, who promises to get tough on China during his time in office, has taken on Beijing before.
Trump lost a trademark case on the use of his own name in China last year, according to recently-released Chinese court documents, reports the South China Morning Post.
He registered his name with the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in December 2006, but a Chinese man named Dong Wei affiliated with a construction company in Liaoning had already registered “Trump” in November of that same year.
In 2009, the president-elect appealed to the trademark office, requesting permission to use his own name for commercial properties and hotels, but his request was denied by the trademark office, revealed the Global Times.
Trump filed suit in the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, as well as the Beijing Higher People’s Court, but he lost in both instances. The ruling reportedly came down shortly after Trump announced his candidacy last year.
He was denied the right to use the name “Trump” on “commercial, residential and hotel real estate construction,” as well as “information services in commercial, residential and hotel real estate construction” projects.
Trump has encountered this issue several times in China.
The president elect asked the Obama administration in 2011 to help him win a trademark case against Trump Companhia Limitada, which had registered the name for coffee shops and restaurants in Macau. Trump was given approval to use his name on hotels, but not restaurants.
Writing to former Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Trump called China a “deceitful culture” with a “faithless, corrupt and tainted” legal system. “Their behavior should be a clear warning to the rest of the world to refrain from any trade practice or business relationship with them!” he added.
While he was defeated on the mainland, Trump was ultimately able to win in Macau.
As the Trump brand is recognized around the world, a number of Chinese companies are actually using the Trump name. Shenzhen Trump Industrial, which was founded in 2002, registered its name in 2004. This company produces high-end “Trump Toilets.”
The company’s Chinese name is chuangpu, which means “innovate everywhere” and resembles Trump’s Chinese name, chuanpu. Shenzhen Trump Industrial initially registered the name “Trmp,” but added the “u” because it looks like a toilet seat, according to the Global Times.
On the campaign trail, Trump ruthlessly criticized China for its unfair trade practices, claiming that China “is raping this country.” He has vowed to label China a “currency manipulator” within his first 100 days in office and slap 45 percent tariffs on Chinese exports.
Trump’s win in the election seems to have shifted some things in his favor in China, which may be eager to curry favor with the incoming president. Four days after he won the election, the office approved his application for the registration of “TRUMP,” which he filed March 20, 2014.
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