Who Said Donald Was Dumb?
Who would have thought a few years ago that Donald Trump would have enjoyed the widespread success that he appears to be enjoying as a Republican candidate for President of the USA?
Scary isn’t it?
However, standing for President has revealed a lot about how Trumps’ vast fortune has been accrued – and much of it is not through bricks and mortar but on IP brand licensing deals!
He certainly seems to have been hugely acquisitive in that particular land grab. Donald Trump’s name and the TRUMP trade mark appear on everything from real estate, golf and leisure, through to energy drinks, menswear, private jets and home furnishings! A trick he probably learned from Richard Branson.
Although his financial disclosure doesn’t spell out exactly where the revenues come from he is widely known to use his name as collateral for real estate deals where he puts no finance into the project but receives handsome revenues and property in return for using his name.
It is a relatively risk free model for him although it does require him to vigorously defend his name and pursue those who try and encroach on his extensive trade mark portfolio (and yes TRUMP is registered in the EU!). In fact I understand Trump has over 700 trade marks Worldwide.
In defending his brand, Trump has pursued everyone from a furniture retailer for the use of www.trumpfurniture.com to a New Jersey pub owner who registered www.trumpwine.com. He has also had a pop at a UK company who registered www.trumpcard.com.
This is nothing new – in 2007 he pursued two men in California who were using Trump’s best coffee on the basis that Trump was a “world famous real estate developer.”
It has to be noted that some of these attempts to stop others using TRUMP have failed!
Sometimes spectacularly, but that hasn’t been reflected in press coverage and a good number have won. Often the commercial case in defending a mark against an empire like Trump’s means that small parties are bullied into settlement and few (if any) of these compromises will be public.
But did he come up Trumps?!
Interestingly Trump had his name valued years ago so that he could use his name to build state of the art golf courses that he didn’t own but wanted to be associated with. His legal team ensure that the brand is monitored for quality purposes. However, they’ve also been clever enough to ensure that he gets paid revenue even if the project isn’t making any money and that the licensing deal can be revoked if bankruptcy or other issues threaten to tarnish the TRUMP brand. His lawyers have also arranged the deals so that his children are included to be both brand ambassadors and assessors of the quality of projects – often a role that is paid for in addition to the licensing fees!
It just goes to show that the right legal advice can add hugely to the value of a company or brand. Whilst I really can’t stand Donald Trump this is a shrewd and low risk move for him. In time honoured tradition he has sweated his most valuable asset – his name.
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