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Written by : Norman Deck
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james collins asks me land cora how can i trademark my own name is it possible my name is andre mink if I'm the founder of trademark Factory and here's my answer to this question personal names are tricky and they're dealt with different things different countries but the rule of thumb is the more common your name is the harder it is to trade market and for a good reason because trademarks by definition allow you to stop others from using the same or similar name in association with the same or similar products and services so if your name is John Smith and you get a trademark on John Smith let's say for accounting services then that would allow you to stop all the other John Smith's from using their names and business if they were to go to become accountants and again in theory that's not right so that's the general rule right so the more common the name the harder it is to trademark it but again different countries treat this differently for example in Canada they look at whether the name appears more than a certain number of times in the the white pages right so the book for every big city they look at and if they find a city where the name is common enough where you can find it more than a certain number of times I believe it's 25 so there are more than 25 John Smith's there then you cannot trade market and in the u.s. it's slightly different they require what's called secondary meaning you have to show to the trademarks office that you have gotten to the point when the public recognizes that your name is an indicator of source of specific products and services for which you're trying to get a trademark right so for example if you are a celebrity singer right or a celebrity coach or a celebrity basketball player or something like that and a whole lot of public recognizes your name as the specific person why so not any John Smith but a particular John Smith then that would allow you to get a trademark on that and also when you say personal name you also have to remember there's different ways to look at it are you talking about your first name why cancer in your case is it James are you talking about your last name so Collins are you talking about the combination like James Collins are you talking about J dot Collins so there's different ways to look at personal names and also what makes it even easier to trademark is if you add to the name this something else like for example James Collins accounting or Collins accounting or J Collins accounting or something like that even though the word accounting by itself may not be anything by generic or descriptive the combination of that plus the name could make it trademark Abel now there's a lot of variables here which is why it's always recommended that you do a proper trademark search and actually not do it yourself and I have somebody do it for you so that you could get an opinion as to the chances of your brand being trademark Abel and the reason you want to have a specialist do the trademark search for you is that if their opinion is that it's not really trademark Abel they will usually be able to suggest ways to maybe add something to it or tweak it a little bit to make the trademark even if it's your personal name more trade markable then then then your first option then your first choice so is James Collins trademark of all can you trademark that again depends on which country depends on which products and services and really depends on what part of that personal name you want to trademark and also depending on how well-known your products and services are to the public under your name so that's these are these are the variables you'd be looking at and hopefully that answers your question and if it doesn't answer your question specifically you're welcome to book a call with our strategy advisors they'll get on the phone with you then it cost you nothing and we'll see if we can help you get this trademarked now if you haven't yet make sure you subscribe because we answer questions about trademarks all the time there's a new daily video coming out and all I talk about is brands trademarks entrepreneurship stuff like that so if you went through this whole video to this point my guess is you'd find a lot of other things you would find interesting on this channel subscribe now hit that notification bell and we'll take it from there and until then I'll see you in the next video
Thanks for your comment Stacey Wickson, have a nice day.
- Norman Deck, Staff Member
hey everybody we are talking all about how to trademark your personal name today and when it makes sense to do that so let's get started i'm nicole schwartz i'm an attorney for women business owners so i help women to protect their businesses and their brands with trademarks and this is my puppy russ and she's gonna be snuggling with us today so we're talking about trademarks and the trademark is the exclusive right to use your brand name so this is really important when you're a small business because you want to make sure that nobody else can copy you nobody else can use the exact same brand name as you and you also want to make sure that it's available and that nobody else trademarks it before you so the trademark like i was saying and make sure that you're the only one who can use that brand name to sell what you sell so for example my brand name is sprout law so i'm the only one who can use sprout law or sprout you know any variation of that to provide legal services or you know lululemon is the only brand that can use the name lululemon or anything similar to sell yoga pants and apparel and whatever else they sell so it's kind of how it works and you want to make sure when you're building a business and when you're building a brand that you're actually able to use it and that you know nobody else can copy you so that's why the trademark is so important and it makes sense you know when you're when you have a brand name when you have a logo and you have a tagline product names hashtags there's a lot of different things that you can trademark and you can also trademark your personal name and this makes sense if you know your business is your personal name if you go by your personal name in your business um and so you know you can think about it like nobody's ever going to be able to stop you from using your personal name like in a personal capacity like nobody can say like you're not allowed to be called that by your friends anymore or like change your legal name like nobody's gonna force you in that way but they can say like you're not allowed to um sell you know apparel with your personal name or you're not allowed to sell um you know photography services with your personal name um if somebody else has a trademark for that so you think about it like um you know like kylie jenner or like you know any of these celebrities like they have trademarks on their personal name and you know a lot of celebrities do that because they're well known but it also makes sense if that is your business name as well because as your business grows and as your business becomes well known um you know if that's your business name you want to make sure that nobody else is going to be able to you know come out with the exact same name as you because then there's two of you it gets really confusing um if we're trying to figure out like which britney johnson does photography um which brittany johnson do i want you know it's tricky so um that's why it makes sense to protect a personal name and they i've noticed that they are um they're taking less than brand names like so to me like a personal name it's not as important to protect as a you know another type of brand name um like sprout law for example or you know just like thinking about like a regular business name like nike or starbucks or whatever um personal names to me like i don't see them come up as often um i don't trademark them as often um i don't i don't see people trademarking them as often but they do they are trademarking them a lot so um to me it's like it's still important but um there's maybe like a little bit of room to like not protect it there too if it was my personal name and i was building a business off of it i personally would protect it um just because like i've been through the process of having to read brand before i've been through the process of having copycats before and it's frustrating on both ends so i want to make sure i'm not in that position um but that's just me personally so the process to protect your personal name is the same as you protect any other kind of trademark so you're going to start with a trademark search to make sure that the brand name is actually available uh make sure that your personal name is available because there are a lot of trademarks out there already so there are a lot of people who have already trademarked their personal name um to sell certain things and so um you want to make sure that it's actually available then you will file the trademark um it takes them about three months to review it and then according to the trademark they uh the trademark office they deny it most of the time so you're gonna wait three months and then 84 percent of the time it gets denied and there's a lot of different reasons why it gets denied um it can be denied as too similar to somebody else or you know maybe you didn't file the application correctly things like that and so we usually go back and forth with the trademark office for another like a month to two months um to make changes or submit legal arguments stuff like that um to get the application approved and then assuming that the trademark office approves it then it goes to publication so they put it on a website for 30 days and that gives other people a chance to object if they feel like it's too similar to their brand so they're not going to notify anybody or anything like that but people are monitoring this trademark website and so um people can object and if anybody objects in you'll negotiate with them otherwise the application gets approved if you've already been using the brand that it's going to be approved if you're haven't started using it yet that's okay too they're going to conditionally approve it and then they'll give you some time to start using it so it's kind of how the process works um like i was saying it it usually takes um some time so it's kind of a long process but it's definitely worth it if you are building a brand and a personal brand that you really want to protect and you want to be able to use for a long time so if you have any questions about protecting your personal brand feel free to pop them in the comments below and if you want to learn more about the trademark process we have a free webinar that's going to walk you through the entire process step by step all the little details in between all the tips and tricks um how you know how the process works how long it takes how much it costs when it makes sense all that kind of stuff so feel free to sign up um below as well and i will talk to you guys soon
Thanks Eli your participation is very much appreciated
- Norman Deck
About the author
I've studied magnetohydrodynamics at Westminster College, Pennsylvania in New Wilmington and I am an expert in projective geometry. I usually feel dorky. My previous job was casino surveillance officer I held this position for 14 years, I love talking about mycology and swimming. Huge fan of Joe Rogan I practice cycling and collect stamps.
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