You may already know that you can trade mark your business’ name to distinguish your goods and services from other traders. But, did you know that you can also trade mark your name? In Australia, a person can trade mark his or her name if it is linked to goods or services, and if it distinguishes the goods and services in question.

But, we hear you ask, why would you want to? Well, if your name is recognisable, you might want to think about protecting it via trade mark registration. Registering your name as a trade mark authorises you to use your name in association with goods and services, and prevent others from using your trademark without permission.

Can I Trade Mark my Name?

If you are thinking of trademarking your name, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Is your name valuable to your brand? 
  • How unique is your name? 
  • What are your motives? 
  • Is your name used to distinguish goods or services?

Typically, you can apply to register your full name as a trade mark unless it is something especially common, for example, John Smith. If this is the case, you will need to prove why your name distinguishes your goods or services.

Registering your surname can be challenging if your surname is common such as Taylor, Chan or Williams. You can’t register your surname for an improper purpose, and you may need to demonstrate the name’s uniqueness, as well as the link between your goods and services.

How Do I Trade Mark My Name?

You now have your name and want to register it to distinguish your goods or service.  But how do you go about applying to register your trade mark? You can read about applying to register a trade mark but before you do, read our brief summary below of five famous, trademarked, names.

1. Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian is an internationally renowned household name. Apps, websites, fashion labels, television shows and beauty products all reflect The Kardashian’s unique brand. Arguably, Kim Kardashian’s goods or services would not be as recognisable or in demand if not for her name and notoriety. This demonstrates the pulling power inherent in her name, and importance her trade mark is to her brand.

2. Morgan Freeman

Following a 2005 lawsuit, Morgan Freeman trademarked his name “Morgan Freeman”.  The lawsuit involved Freeman fighting for the rights to the domain name morganfreeman.com.

3. Dick Smith

Iconic Australian entrepreneur, Dick Smith, is a familiar Australian name, and trade mark. Dick Smith has two associated trademarks, “Dick Smith Foods” and “Dick Smith” (retailer), capitalising on the Australian public recognising and associating his name with the Dick Smith brand (despite Dick Smith selling his shares in the retailer). 

4. Ken Done

Ken Done is a famous Australian artist, known for his brightly coloured and simple designs of Australian landmarks. Ken Done has registered his name and logo in Australia and Internationally to protect merchandise that bears his designs.

5. Don Bradman

The Bradman Foundation registered as trade marks the name Don Bradman, surname Bradman and full title Sir Donald Bradman. The Bradman signature and nickname, “The Don” have also been trademarked.

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Questions about trademarking your name? Get in touch with our trade mark lawyers on 1300 544 755.

Sophie Glover

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