Can you trademark a person’s name?

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You can trademark a person’s name. In fact, you can trademark someone else’s name. But, if you want to register a trademark that includes the name, nickname, portrait, or signature of a living individual, there are a few things you need to know.

In additional to the usual filing requirements, you need permission to trademark a person’s name. You must include a written consent to registration of the trademark with your application that is signed by the person that is the subject of the trademark.

If the living individual’s a minor, then the appropriate party to sign the written consent is determined by the consent laws of the state where the person lives. If the minor is under the age of consent, then the consent should be signed by the parent or legal guardian and clearly set forth that person’s status as a parent or legal guardian.

Pro Tip: When filing a TEAS Plus application to trademark a person’s name, the written consent must be attached to the initial application to maintain TEAS Plus status. To attach the written consent, tick the box under the “Additional Statement” section on the “Mark Information” page. Then, look for the “NAME(S), PORTRAIT(S), SIGNATURE(S) OF INDIVIDUAL(S)” heading. Beneath that heading, enter the name of the individual identified and click the button provided to attach the written consent. If you fail to attach the written consent at filing, you will lose TEAS Plus status, and an additional fee will become due.

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