Can I use my own name as a trade mark?
The key to a trade mark is to make it unique and personal. There is nothing quite as personal as your own name.
The question is, can you use your name as a trade mark?
The answer in short is yes!
But, it is not quite as simple as it may seem.
It is important to understand that as soon as you register your name as a trade mark, it will start to build a reputation and an identity of its own. This is known as goodwill.
This goodwill will be attached to the name itself and not you as an individual, just as it would if the trade mark was not your name.
The key issue with this is if you ever decide to pass on or sell the business, you cannot take your name with you. It will have built its reputation in relation to the business it represents and therefore this will stop you from using your own name in any new business.
It is very common especially in the fashion industry for designers to use their own name as their brand.
This has been an issue for a few very well known fashion brands.
The most recent case of name claim failing in fashion happened to UK designer Karen Millen.
After selling her fashion business including the IP rights to the brand name ‘Karen Millen’ to an Icelandic company in 2004 for £95 million, 2011 saw her plans to re-emerge into the fashion world.
Her plan was to use the name ‘Karen’ to release a range of home ware products.
This plan was stopped by the agreement she had made in 2004, and her efforts to appeal this were also cut short as the Court ruled the agreement was still binding and she did not have the right to use ‘Karen’ or ‘Karen Millen’ even though the products she was planning to sell were in a different commercial market.
While it may seem a good idea and a quick solution to creating a brand for your business to use your name, you need to keep in mind the long term as it may cut you short in the future.
For more information on trade marks or more guidance on the best approach to creating a trade mark, contact The Trademarkroom today.
By Ellis Sweetenham