How to Trademark a Name (First Name or Last Name)

How to Trademark a Name (First Name or Last Name)

  • 09 August, 2018
  • Nyall Engfield

How can you trademark a name, like a first name or last name?

This is one of the most important questions for small service businesses, like consulting, real estate, accountant, doctor, or being an online influencer. Chances are, you are known by your name (usually last name or both first and last name) as that's how you started. Now that you have substantial notoriety, it doesn't make sense to change your name, you would lose all that goodwill. And don't forget about the star power that comes with the name.

But how can you protect the name from being used by your competitors? Sometimes, they will choose a name that is close or identical to yours, so your customers get confused and buy from them instead. A trademark can give you the protection you need to stop copycats, but there are some hurdles to trademarking a name.

First of all, trademarking a name is prohibited unless you can show that the name has acquired a secondary meaning through your product dispersal and advertising/marketing efforts. This means consumer no longer look at your last name as simply a name, but indicative of quality services in the field of (consulting, real estate, online influencer etc.)

This usually takes some time (and ad spend) to establish, but it can be accomplished over time, and the ability to prevent others from using the name is priceless, since it lets you keep your hard-earned goodwill.

If the trademark does not have enough use/notoriety to convince a trademark examiner of its registrability on the primary register, the name may nonetheless be registered on the Supplemental Register, which will give you certain, more limited rights until you can show enough notoriety or popularity.

Contact us today to discuss your chances for a trademark of your name. 


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