Ivanka Trump brand president Abigail Klem is speaking out against reports suggesting that the company’s move to secure three new trademarks in China is anything other than straight business.
In an email statement to Footwear News this afternoon, Klem said that the brand recently saw “a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the name.”
She added, “It is our responsibility to diligently protect our trademark.”
The statement was an update to an initial email response sent to FN this morning, in which Klem stated: “The [Ivanka Trump] brand has filed, updated, and rigorously protected its international trademarks over the past several years in the normal course of business, especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant.”
Earlier today, a spokesperson for the brand also dismissed reports that there might be some significance to the fact that the label obtained the potentially valuable trademarks on the same day that Ivanka Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Trademarking is a totally standard process, which companies have to do to protect themselves against predatory filers who want to infringe on the brand,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Indeed, China has a well-documented history as a counterfeit haven, and many brands have faced major challenges combatting trademark issues in the region. NBA legend Michael Jordan, for example, engaged in a four-year trademark battle against Qiaodan Sports, which he accused of using the Chinese version of his name, Qiaodan, to brand and market sportswear in the country — diluting the value of his U.S.-based Jordan brand. He took his case to China’s highest court, which ultimately ruled in his favor in December 2016.
Still, President Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and proposed policies, which are meant to boost domestic production and discourage overseas manufacturing, continue to haunt his and the first daughter’s namesake labels, which both rely on Chinese production.