President-elect Donald Trump will soon become the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, but that won't cow businessman Zhong Jiye into giving up the brand name on his Trump Toilet products.
"We registered our company in 2002 and obtained approval from the trademark office in Beijing," said Zhong, referring to Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company Limited, which mostly manufactures high-tech toilet seats.
"If Mr. Trump thinks our trademark violates his rights and interests, he can use legal methods because our company observes China's laws," CEO Zhong told NBC News, adding that he is prepared to defend his company's legal rights to the Trump brand name.
With over 16 million customers and 85 percent of the Chinese market, Trump Toilet has about 1,000 employees, and product prices range from $235 to $880, according to Zhong, a 40-year-old entrepreneur based in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province.
In China, trademarks are generally awarded by the government to those who apply first, and it's not uncommon for enterprising individuals to try to register names of celebrities.
The Trump trademark is used by a wide range of Chinese products, from ties and clothing to golf courses, poker cards, condoms and toilet products, many without Trump's permission.
But soon after his election victory, Trump's trademark was granted preliminary approval for use in real-estate-agent services in commercial and residential properties.
The decision came after a decade-long legal fight and appears to reverse an earlier court ruling that favored a Chinese businessman.