The founder of a Chinese brand of high-tech toilets called Trump said he had no intention of soiling the name of America’s next president. “We registered our company in 2002 and obtained approval from the trademark office in Beijing,” Zhong Jiye, the CEO of Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company Limited, explained. “If Mr. Trump thinks our trademark violates his rights and interests, he can use legal methods because our company observes China’s laws.”
In the United States, Mr. Trump’s name has adorned ties, steaks, water and other products. In China, it is found on computers, cosmetics, even leather goods.
But, many such Chinese products don’t have the president-elect’s permission. In the past, Donald Trump has had a difficult time defending his own name in China, where loose copyright laws mean that trademarks are essentially “first come, first serve.” In the past five years, Trump has lost at least two cases against Chinese companies using his trademark.
However, Zhong contends that “Trump Toilets” was not one of these enterprises. He says that when he made his trademark application, he didn’t even know who Trump was. “It was coincidental,” he said.