PERSONAL NAMES AND TRADEMARKS


PERSONAL NAMES AND TRADEMARKS

11-May-2007

Personal names and surnames may be used as trademarks; however, there is no "sacred" right to use your personal name as a trademark. The Lanham Act generally prevents federal trademark registration of a mark that is "primarily merely a surname". Therefore, if the mark is recognized by the public primarily as someone's last name, then registration may be refused unless the mark owner can prove secondary meaning. However, if the mark has significance other than a last name, then registration may be allowed. For example, Reeves and Higgins are primarily recognized as last names, whereas King and Cotton have a strong significance aside from being a last name.