Donald Trump was recently surprised to discover that an Israeli company, H. Pixel International Trade Ltd. is using his name and registered trademark "Trump" without his consent and authorization, according to a petition for a temporary injunction filed with the Tel Aviv District Court yesterday.
Trump learned of the vodka from an employee who visited Israel and told him that she saw large advertisements for the vodka, which included Donald Trump's image. She also saw a website, Trump Vodka that used him in its domain name, which included his pictures and links to the Trump Organization. None of this had Trump's authorization.
The court filing states that, during an attempt to talk with Pixel International Trade, it was learned that Pixel had signed an agreement with a US company, which provided Pixel exclusive distribution rights to Trump Vodka in Israel, as well as rights to produce the products and launch advertising campaigns. However, Trump says in the petition for an injunction that, in 2010, the US company stopped producing vodka under the Trump trademark because the company failed to meet the threshold requirements.
Trump states that the license of the US company which marketed the vodka was revoked, and that its transfer of rights to Pixel was not authorized. Trump says that the US company was never authorized in any case to transfer its rights to a third party or subsidiary.
As for Pixel, Trump said that on the basis of the original license, Trump Vodka was to be produced at a Dutch distillery, which Pixel did not use. Trump says that, consequently, he cannot know whether the vodka produced in his name is of the proper quality.
Trump claims that despite extensive correspondence between his representatives and representatives of Pixel International Trade, the necessary documents were not provided to him for considering a possible collaboration. He further claims that his representatives had contacted the US company, which explicitly said that Pixel International Trade had never received permission to change distilleries, produce new vodka, or launch an ad campaign.
The petition for an injunction reveals interesting details about how Trump authorizes use of his name for commercial purposes. The petition states that although Donald Trump is mainly known for his real estate business, he authorized the use of his name for a US television show on education for technology ventures. Products with the Trump trademark include clothing and men's fashion accessories, Trump Vodka, Trump Mineral Water, the "Trump" magazine, Trump Home Furniture, Trump Model Management, Trump Steaks, Trump Chocolate, and Trump Tea.
Trump's name is commercially protected in 80 countries, and he owns over 700 trademarks.
Pixel International Trade said in response, "This petition is baseless because it was not accepted by the district court with ex parte status after hearing Trump's attorney speak on her own behalf. Pixel Trade acted and acts legally pursuant to valid agreements, and it will continue to market the beverages its produces in the future, as it has done successfully until now. Pixel is not a party to the dispute between Trump and other parties in the US, and its name was included in this matter in a way that will be corrected shortly."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 14, 2011
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