When Can a Business Use Trademark Names?
In order for a business to trademark a name, the actual name should fulfill certain requirements.
Brand names such as Nabisco, Kraft, and Dell are names that consumers see every day in stores and on marketing advertisement campaigns. Since they are easily recognizable, the companies which own them trademark them to protect their business efforts and consumers.
When a consumer buys a Nabisco product, he or she knows what to expect from the product being purchased. Brand names cannot include generic names for products. For example, “Nike” is a brand name and a registered trademark, though “sneaker” or “shoe” would be the generic name that cannot be included in a trademark in any way.
Trademark Names for Copyrighted Work:
Works of authorship can usually be protected under intellectual property law through copyrights, though the title of the work cannot be copyrighted. It can, however, be trademarked. In order to be protected under a trademark, the title of a work must first have a secondary meaning.
This means they must be commercially well-known to the public. Star Wars, for example, is a copyrighted work that is well-known to the public. As a result, it was able to obtain a trademark for the title, “Star Wars”. In most cases, a name is capable of being trademarked if it is a series of works rather than just a single work.
Trademark Names for Literary Characters:
Under certain circumstances, literary characters can also be trademarked, even if the character is part of a work is no longer copyrighted. If a work loses copyright protection, characters within it can maintain their trademark status to prevent others from using them once the work reaches public domain.