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Indonesia agency gives preliminary OK to Trump trademarks

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's intellectual property agency has given preliminary approval to two Donald Trump trademarks a bit more than two years after the applications were filed.

Though the timing was in line with the agency's guidelines for how long such approvals should take, the clearance of Trump trademarks by foreign governments has caused concern in the U.S. over potential conflicts of interest for the president.

The database of the Directorate-General of Intellectual Property shows the "Trump" and "Trump International" trademarks will become eligible to be officially registered if no one files an objection during a three-month window.

It took a little more than two years for the marks to reach the final stages, about the same time as previously registered Trump marks in Indonesia.

Trump's decision to retain ownership of his global branding empire while president has sparked lawsuits and criticism in the U.S. over perceived conflicts of interest. One lawsuit filed in June by nearly 200 Democrats in Congress alleges violations of a constitutional prohibition against accepting gifts from foreign governments. Trademarks are at the heart of these complaints because they are granted by foreign states and can be immensely valuable.

In Indonesia, the Trump Organization will operate two luxury resorts being built by billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who is banned from leaving the country while being investigated for allegedly threatening a prosecutor.

Trump and his daughter Ivanka, who is a White House adviser and has a fashion and lifestyle business, together have six other trademarks pending approval in Indonesia. Several Donald Trump trademarks are shown by the database as expired and one as registered in early 2016.

The Trump Organization has been particularly active with its trademarks in China, where as of June it had at least 125 marks formally or provisionally approved. Nine received preliminary approval in June after earlier being either wholly or partly rejected, with the swiftness of the appeals process surprising intellectual property experts.

The two Indonesian marks nearing final approval cover a broad range of possible businesses. The Trump mark includes education, provision of conference facilities, model management and online gambling. The Trump International mark, which is in an announcement period prior to the objection period, mainly covers services related to hotels and real estate.

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