Despite Ivanka Trump’s decision to step away from her namesake brand and join her father in Washington, D.C., the first daughter continues to face challenges when it comes to separating her political actions from the brand that bears her name.
On April 6 — the same day that Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping — her eponymous label reportedly won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks. The trademarks, AP reports, would give the brand monopoly rights to sell Ivanka Trump jewelry, bags and spa services in China.
In response to an email inquiry from Footwear News, Ivanka Trump brand president Abigail Klem cast the brand’s China trademark victory as the result of standard business procedures.
“The 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,” Klem said.
A spokesperson for the Ivanka Trump brand also dismissed suggestions that there was some significance in the fact that the label obtained the potentially valuable trademarks on the same day that Ivanka Trump met with the leader of the world’s second-largest economy.
“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.