Trump may have violated the Constitution to trademark massage parlors and escort services in China
President Donald Trump in North Charleston, SC on February 17, 2017. (Ryan Johnson/Flickr)

China has granted preliminary approval to 38 new Trump trademarks that would allow the U.S. president and his family to develop name-branded hotels, golf courses and other hospitality services.

Donald Trump's lawyers applied for the trademarks in April 2016, when the Republican presidential candidate was attacking China at campaign rallies, and their approval raises potential constitutional issues after his inauguration as president, reported the Associated Press.

The provisional approvals were published Feb. 27 and Monday by China's Trademark Office, and they'll be formally registered if no objections are filed after 90 days.

Ethics lawyers have consistently warned that Trump could be in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign states without congressional approval, if he receives special treatment from China during the process.

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"A routine trademark, patent or copyright from a foreign government is likely not an unconstitutional emolument, but with so many trademarks being granted over such a short time period, the question arises as to whether there is an accommodation in at least some of them," said Richard Painter, White House ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush.

An expert on intellectual property law in Hong Kong told the AP he'd never seen so many trademark applications approved so quickly and smoothly.

"For all these marks to sail through so quickly and cleanly, with no similar marks, no identical marks, no issues with specifications — boy, it's weird," said Dan Plane, a director at the Hong Kong-based consulting firm Simone IP Services.

China has already registered a trademark Feb. 14 to a Trump-branded construction firm after a 10-year legal battle that ended in the president's favor after he launched his GOP campaign.

The pending trademarks are for Trump-branded golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real estate companies, massage parlors, and social escort and concierge services, the AP reported.

It's not clear whether any of those businesses will actually be developed, and many companies register trademarks in China to prevent others from using their names.

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Trump and his children -- who are overseeing the Trump Organization while he serves in the White House -- have promised not to conduct foreign deals during his presidential term.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, the president's sons, are hoping to expand the family-owned business in U.S. markets and continue to operate hotels and other businesses overseas.

"Every American should be profoundly concerned by this enormous expansion of President Trump's entanglements with China," said Norman Eisen, White House ethics lawyer under former President Barack Obama. "If the president is receiving these flows of benefits from China, how can he be trusted to staunch the flow of jobs from the United States to that country?"

Eisen and Painter, the former ethics lawyers under two presidents, are involved in a lawsuit that accuses Trump of violating the Constitution with his foreign business ties.