President-elect Donald Trump is a person of many firsts. It is well known that he is litigious (involved in at least 3500 lawsuits in the US federal and state courts). What is not known outside of China is that he is the first person to be elected president of the United States who has sued in the Chinese courts (and lost). The image above is of the judgment of the Beijing Higher People’s Court (the official version in SPC case database linked here, but also available here), upholding a decision by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court (up to 52,000+ pageviews). The Beijing Intermediate People’s Court reviewed Trump’s challenge of a ruling of the PRC Trademark Review & Adjudication Board (TRAB) on the use of the TRUMP trademark. He is one of many in the foreign business community who have been losers in China’s first to file trademark system (summarized here).
Before getting to the legal issues, a note about Trump’s name. In this case his name is translated as唐纳 川普 (his last name is the contraction for Sichuan Putonghua). It is the translation used colloquially in China, but the official media translates his name as 唐纳德·特朗普.
Trump’s 2006 Chinese trademark application was made to the Trademark Bureau on 7 December 2006 in class 37 (Building construction; repair; installation services), while individual Dong Wei applied for the TRUMP trademark on 24 November 2006 in a subclass of class 37, for building construction supervision.
On 30 November 2009, the Trademark Bureau rejected Trump’s trademark application as it related to hotel, residential, and commercial real estate construction information. Trump sought reconsideration of the Trademark Bureau’s decision by TRAB. TRAB upheld the Trademark Bureau’s ruling in its 2014 decision (商评字（2014）第2758号)
Will this case mean that the new administration is more or less interested in continuing judicial exchanges with the Supreme People’s Court, such as the U.S.-China Judicial Dialogue in Support of Reform and Economic Growth ?