Can I trademark a celebrity’s name if there is no current trademark and I own a domain with the full name in it?

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Can I trademark a celebrity’s name if there is no current trademark and I own a domain with the full name in it?

Asked on June 3, 2015 under Business Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot trademark a celebrity's name. A person has the right to control the use of his or her own name, and that right exists prior to, and cannot be taken away by, another trademarking it. You cannot, for example, prevent Chris Pratt from using his own name--but if someone else had a trademark on his name, they could do that. Thus, trademark over another person's name is inconsistent with that person's fundamental right to control their own name.

Furthermore, no one can trademark anything that they themselves do not put into commerce or commercialize--but you do not put into commerce the celebrithy's name: the celebrity does.


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