Melania Trump Hires Law Firm to Protect Her Image in Slovenia

Slovenian entrepreneurs have been racing to offer Melania Trump-themed products.

ByABC News
December 1, 2016, 3:46 PM

— -- Melania Trump has hired the well-respected law firm Pirc Musar & Partnerji in her native Slovenia to warn people against profiting off her name and image.

Honey jars "from Melania's home garden," pancakes with golden dust and a special breakfast with strawberries -- these are just a few of the many products that Slovenian entrepreneurs have been offering for sale since her husband, Donald Trump, became president-elect of the United States.

"We just want to draw public attention to the fact that the words Trump, Melania and Melania Trump are protected trademarks on one hand and that use of Mrs. Trump's image, name and characteristic features used for commercial purposes may amount to her personality rights infringements on the other,” Natasa Pirc Musar, director of the law firm, told ABC News. “We issued a press release and sent it to all Slovenian media. Now we count on people’s prudence to stop the practice.”

She added that Melania Trump does not want to sue anyone.

“Of course, my client does not want any legal proceedings, no lawsuits. At the moment, that’s out of the question,” said Pirc Musar. “We are closely monitoring the situation and I am in contact with my client on a weekly basis.”

    In the tiny factory town of Sevnica, where the future first lady, then known as Melanija Knavs, grew up, a cottage industry hawking Melania Trump-associated products from quintessential Slovenian honey to pastries has sprung up.

    Bruno Lojze Vedmar, a local Sevnica entrepreneur and a pizzeria owner, was the first to produce a breakfast dessert made of yogurt, strawberries, mascarpone, cream, cookie base and silver or gold sugar pearls -- and he called it Melanija, with a "j."

    “It is a best-seller at my place, and since I don’t use a picture of Melania, I am not worried about copyright infringement,” he told ABC News.

    Franc Krasovec, a Slovenian pancake master who has created a Melania Trump-themed pancake, says he's not worried about copyright infringement either. “I don’t really know what copyright infringement is so I shall not worry about it," he told ABC News.

    He said that he has had 20 different kinds of pancakes on the menu for decades and that people from all over Europe have come to taste them. "Only now that the White House is so close to Sevnica, I invented a 21st pancake with the finest ingredients: wild blueberries picked around the cottage, the finest bourbon vanilla filling and ice cream with edible gold dust to spice it up,” he said.

    Pirc Musar said that it's items using her client's photo or last name that concern her. “[It's] not a problem. No photo or last name is attached to it,” said Pirc Musar of Vedmar's breakfast dessert. “We personally tasted it and it’s very good." She said that she doesn’t mind that a giant Christmas tree in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana is called Melania either.

    Pirc Musar pointed instead to a billboard advertisement erected in Sevnica featuring the future first lady without her consent. “A huge billboard in Sevnica with Melania’s picture, erected by a private web company for commercial purposes, is problematic," as are "honey jars from 'Melania’s home garden' with Melania’s image and Slovenian and American flags," she said. "In Slovenia and most of Europe this represents a violation of personality rights".

    PHOTO: A sign which reads 'Welcome to the Hometown of the First Lady' in Slovenian, is pictured among other billboards on Nov. 29, 2016 in Sevnica, Slovenia.
    A sign which reads 'Welcome to the Hometown of the First Lady' in Slovenian, is pictured among other billboards on Nov. 29, 2016 in Sevnica, Slovenia.

    Editor’s note: Due to a translation issue in the original version of this story some of the quotes in this article were amended after publication to better reflect their intended meaning.

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