Using your own name as a trademark isnot all that different from creating a more inventive trademark.
The protection is pretty much the same, there are just a few little twists and turnsthat you might have to go through if you are looking to protect your own name asa trademark.
First, if you're using a personal name, you know, you'll go throughall the same hoops — have a trademark search performed, and draft and file the application.
One special little step that is reserved for personal name trademarks is that you may have to state whether, you know, the named individual so — Maria Spear Ollis — if that is a living individual, if that's you, then you may have to submitan affidavit basically saying that — that the owner has the right to use your nameas a trademark.
You know, a lot of times of course, people form business entities — LLC's, etc.
– for their business, or maybe a separate LLC to own any intellectual property, and so when that business is listed as the owner, youknow, there's no saying whether that business has the right to use anindividual's name as a trademark, so that step kind of bridges that gap.
And then,we've talked about the spectrum of trademark strength, remember, all the wayfrom generic and descriptive at the bottom, up to arbitrary and fanciful atthe top.
A last name, when used as a trademark, can fall into that descriptive category.
It's called "primarily merely a surname.
" Well, that sounds like a lot of legalese! It's basically away of saying that your trademark is a word or a name that primarily is thoughtof as a last name.
That's not always the case with every last name;you know "Spear," which is part of my last name is a noun,right? It's a thing.
When you hear the word "spear" you don't necessarily thinkof a last name, you might think of a weapon.
Same thing with names like "King.
" Those last names are last names, butthey're not primarily thought of — when you hear that word, you don't primarilythink of a surname or last name.
While others most definitely are, you know,Smith, Jones, etc.
It could be rejected as primarily merely a surname or you knowkind of a descriptive last name.
There are always a couple of options once thathappens but just know that it can happen.
And then the thing to remember whenusing a personal name as a trademark is that it must be used as a trademark.
It's not enough that you offer a product or service yourself.
Think of Martha Stewart,think of Calvin Klein, those are brands that — where you can clearly see theconnection between the name as the trademark and the product or serviceoffered under those brand names.
It's not enough to own a business that offersthat product or service where when that business is using a totally differentmark other than your name.
Make sense? So those are a couple of little littletwists and turns that you can run into when using a name as a trademark.
Hope that helps.
See you next time.