Registering Your Last Name ®

In the wine industry, the use of surnames as brand names is ubiquitous.  This National Law Review article on March 18, 2015 discusses the challenges of seeking trademark protection for personal names, noting that "as trademark law has evolved, so has the view that everyone has a 'right' to use their own name as a mark. The modern view focuses on protecting the public from confusion, such that a subsequent user may face limits to using their own name if it would be likely to cause confusion with an existing mark" and citing a court ruling that "[a] person has no right to use his name as a trademark simply because of the fortuity of his parents and their choice of names. The world is full of people who cannot use their names in whole industries: Marriotts in motels, Hugheses in oil tools, and McDonalds in fast foods."