MYTH BUSTED! Do personal names need to be registered as trademarks? MYTH BUSTED! Do personal names need to be registered as trademarks?
The legal myth we are busting today is that, if you trade under your own personal name then you do not need to register it as a trademark. That is false, not every business person needs to register their name as a trademark, I’m not suggesting that at all. But if your name is your brand, like Oprah for example, then you should get your personal name registered as a trademark.
A trademark is like your superpower, it prevents others from using the name as a brand and it gives you immunity to use it as a brand. So if somebody else says you’re not allowed to use that name as a brand, you can say here’s my trademark certificate of course I can use it. For example, Tanya Targett, who is a PR guru in Australia, has her name registered because her brand name is Tanya Targett. She’s got the trademark registered for her personal name, because it’s also her brand name.
Nicknames are also important, I have a client who is an international pop star, and her stage name is not her real name. To protect that name, because it served her brand, we registered her stage name. Another client of mine is a business coach who trades under the name Coach Kool, his name is Tony Kool. Coach Kool is what his clients call him, sort of like me with legal lionesses, and we registered Coach Kool for him as a trademark.
Then another coach came along and started calling herself Coach Kool. She wasn’t a business coach, she was a fitness trainer. But because we had protected Tony’s brand in training generally, what this other lady was doing fell with in his monopoly. So he tried to get her to stop. I sent her letters, and after one letter she changed all her social media accounts. She took the words Coach Kool completely off, she changed her website, she took all the images off that had Coach Kool on it.
It would have been the same thing if it was a personal name. So if you’re trading under your personal name as your brand, then it’s certainly worth getting your personal name registered as a trademark. Now of course nobody can stop you from having your passport in that name or calling yourself that name. But if it’s your brand, the thing that attracts people to your event, then you should get it registered.
It has been an absolute blast busting legal myths to protect your business, so that you can lead the lifestyle you deserve. My name is Cathryn Warburton, the legal lioness, if you want to see more legal myths being busted, hop on to ‘legallioness.com’.