This led to me to consider which other famous figures had taken the step of trade marking their name. A quick brain storm came up with the following examples in the UK trade mark register:
- David Beckham;
- Victoria Beckham;
- JK Rowling;
- Noel Gallagher;
- Bono (real name Paul Hewson);
- Katie Price;
- Taylor Swift; and
- Harry Styles.
So what do Elizabeth I and Harry Styles have in common? Somewhat oddly, both are trade marks registered in Class 3 in respect of "bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use". I have no idea why Harry Styles might want to use his name with laundry products but if wants to, he is protected!
Moving Swift-ly on, you might be asking yourself whether anyone can register their name as a trade mark? The answer is yes, provided the Intellectual Property Office can be persuaded that it is "distinctive". So Joe Bloggs would probably be unsuccessful while Benedict Cumberbatch would be unlikely to face any difficulty in establishing distinctiveness. Equally, Professor Stephen Hawking, taken as a whole, is pretty distinctive.
As well as being unique, your name would need to meet the other criteria which any trade mark application must satisfy. That is, it must not:
- be offensive;
- merely describe the goods or services it relates to; or
- be misleading.
It is worth bearing in mind that trade marks can include:
- colours; or
- a combination of any of these.
For example, the Harry Potter author has protected 'JK Rowling' as a word mark and her signature as an image mark. This might be useful if you do have a pretty common name, as your signature is more likely to be a unique mark.
If all of this has made you consider seeking protection for your own name, then please get in touch.