Chinese toilet maker Trump Industrial fears being sued by prez candidate

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Mar 19, 2016 16:52 IST
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday. (AFP)

Political analysts might chuckle at the coincidence but Zhong Jianwei, the top executive at toilet-maker Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company, is worried about being sued by US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

What might anger Trump more is Zhong’s claim that he was blissfully unaware of the Republican party leader’s existence till the billionaire announced his candidature in 2015.

By then, as it turned out, it was too late for the company to change its name.

Zhong told state media the company and the name have been around for more than 10 years.

“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,” he told the state-run Global Times.

“Donald Trump is only one of many Trumps throughout the world. We did not use his portrait or reputation (to gain profit).”

The newspaper quoted Zhong as saying: “(The name) was just a coincidence. We could not have predicted Mr Trump would run for the US presidency some 14 years ago.”

Zhong said the trademark was originally registered under the name “TRMP” but the company later added a “U” in the middle to symbolise a toilet lid.

A promotional advertisement for Trump toilets. (Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company Limited)

If Trump decides to sue, he and his lawyers could carefully scrutinise the lawsuit filed by basketball star Michael Jordan against a local company that used the Chinese version of his name “Qiaodan”. In 2015, the Beijing High People’s Court rejected Jordan’s claim.

Anyway, in case of a lawsuit, Zhong is likely to find a supporter in the government – the country’s legal system is not independent of the ruling Communist Party China (CPC).

Trump has been described as a “racist” and likened to German dictator Adolf Hitler by the state media, which said it was the flawed process of democracy which threw up leaders like them.

“The rise of a racist in the US political area worries the whole world…He has even been called another Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler by some western media,” the Global Times said in an editorial this week.

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