Can you trademark your Name? This is a question that is coming up more and more, as Business Owners take to the Internet, YouTube, and Twitter to create their own personal brands.
Whether someone can get trademark protection for their name depends on a few factors:
Factor 1: How Unique Is Your Name?
The more unique your name is, the easier it will be to get trademark protection. This is because less of a problem is created by allowing someone with a unique name to have exclusive rights to it, than by allowing someone with a very common name to get exclusive rights to use it.
Factor 2: Are You Using Your Name as a Company’s Brand Name?
When the Brand Name itself is your name, it is easier to get trademark protection for your name. For example, designers often use their name as their Brand Name (ex. “Kate Spade” for a purse company). If you are not utilizing your name as the Brand Name, it is harder to get protection.
Factor 3: Do you have Widespread Use?
Use is always required for trademark protection. However, for protection of a person’s name, the greater the use, the more likely the mark can register.
Factor 4: Do you have Continuous Use?
The length of use comes into play when registering a name as a brand name. Often, the person’s name will not be granted immediate trademark protection because there is a general prohibition of protecting surnames. However, if the name is registered on the Supplemental Registry and then utilized for over five years as the Brand Name, the name may then qualify for trademark protection if the Company can prove that the public recognizes the name as a Brand Name.