A trademark is the source identifier of a good or service, so it is natural that a person's name may be the source indicator of goods or services provided by that person's profession. Musicians, painters, photographers, actors, clothing designers, jewelry companies and others often seek trademark protection through registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
When a trademark appears to be a person's name, there are requirements for its registration in addition to general trademark law principals. If the trademark is a living person's name (including their full name, first name, surname, shortened name, pseudonym, stage name or nick name) the person's written consent is required to use and register the name if if either (1) the individual is publicly connected with the business; or (2) the individual bearing the name is so well known that the public would reasonably assume a connection between its use in commerce and the living person. The purpose of requiring consent of is to protect the rights of privacy and publicity that all individuals possess. If the mark does not refer to a living individual, but could be interpreted as such, then a statement that the mark is not a living person must be included in a trademark application.
If a performer's name is sought to be registered, the trademark application must include evidence that the mark appears on at least two different works. For example, a musician who would like to trademark their name in association with musical performances would need to submit evidence of their name on two CD covers. For individuals that create physical products or other works of art such as sculptures, painting, jewelry, there is no requirement that the artists name is on multiple works, only that the name is on an original piece of art.
How to Register Your Name
It is important for anyone who uses their name to identify a business or profession to register with the USTPO, and it often takes an experienced attorney to weave through the intricacies of the trademark application process.
For help with registering your name, please give us a call at 650-271-9395, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues, but it does not constitute legal advice. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.