Chinese toilet maker shares Trump name

By Ding Xuezhen Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-18 1:00:06

Company confident US billionaire won’t win possible trademark lawsuit

A Chinese toilet company that bears the same name as US presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday expressed its confidence in being able to defend its trademark in court should the US business mogul decide to sue the toilet maker for tarnishing his classy brand.

Zhong Jianwei, general manager of Shenzhen Trump Industrial Co Ltd, a Chinese toilet maker in South China's Guangdong Province, said he is not worried that Donald Trump may sue his company someday.

"Our trademark has been registered with the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and has been used for over 10 years. It is a common foreign name. Donald Trump is only one of many Trumps throughout the world. We did not use his portrait or reputation [to gain profit]," Zhong told the Global Times.

Zhong said he only learned of Donald Trump's existence in 2015, after the mogul's campaign announcement and the extensive media coverage it sparked.

"[The name] was just a coincidence," Zhong said, adding that "we could not have predicted Mr Trump would run for the US presidency some 14 years ago."

"So far, our business has not been affected [by Donald Trump's presidential campaign]. However, I am concerned that our brand may be affected by other media reports in the future," Zhong said.

Shenzhen Trump Industrial was founded in 2002 and filed for its English trademark in 2004. On its website, the company calls itself "the first enterprise that utilizes the technology of continuous rewinding toilet sanitary cover devices to solve the global sanitation of public toilets."

Zhong also acknowledged that the trademark was originally registered under the name "TRMP," but the company later added a "U" in the middle to symbolize a toilet lid.

An article published on the website of Foreign Policy magazine on March 14 said the toilet maker seems "to have adopted a bit of the Republican Party front-runner's characteristic swagger."

Though Zhong said he understands that "such a satirical report might be part of the campaigning culture," he insisted he cannot accept "groundless criticism."

"We are watching this play out and are estimating possible negative influences upon the company," Zhong explained, warning that the company may have to resort to legal action to protect its rights in the future.

A number of companies in China have registered trademarks using Chinese or English words that can be easily associated with the names of internationally well-known figures, such as Barack Obama and Michael Jordan.

Jordan filed a lawsuit against a Chinese company named Qiaodan Sportswear in 2014, claiming the company used his name without authorization. "Qiaodan," the popular Chinese transliteration for Jordan's surname, had been used as the company's registered trademark since 2000.

In July 2015, the basketball superstar's claim was rejected by the Beijing High People's Court due to insufficient evidence.

Posted in: Society, Asia-Pacific

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