President Trump has faced repeated controversy over alleged ties to Russia and he has consistently maintained that he has no business links with Russia. It has emerged this week however that Rospatent (the Russian Intellectual Property Office) have renewed Trump's trade marks in the country despite them not having been used.
According to The New York Times, Trump's trade marks had been set to expire last year and were renewed between April 2016 and December 2016. In a rather ironic twist, four of the marks were renewed on 8 November 2016, the day of the US election.
The marks were originally attained for hotels and branding deals, however the trade marks were never used as the ventures behind them had failed to materialise. Trade mark renewal in Russia is generally a routine matter though some observers have queried why these marks were not subject to further scrutiny before renewal due to the lack of use that the marks were put to.
President Trump's links with Russia have been questioned for a long time now after allegations that Russia interfered in the US presidential campaign in order to favour Mr Trump. It is also the case that the director of Rospatent was handpicked by President Putin.
The marks in question include "Trump International Hotel and Tower" which was applied for during Trumps quest to develop hotels in Russia which never materialised. The extension of the trade mark, however, has allowed Trump to keep his mark protected and subsequently kept the possibility of future business ventures open.
This is not the first time that President Trump's aggressive brand strategy has caused controversy, with similar stories making the headlines about his trade marks in China.in: EU/International, Trade Marks