Can I trademark my last name?


Briskin, Cross & Sanford - Business Law Blog

The short answer is, “Generally, no.”  People try it all the time, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office politely rejects the applications and keeps the filing fees.  If you disagree with the Trademark Office’s rejection, or if you think someone else is trying to grab your surname for a trademark and you want to file an opposition to their application (or even seek to cancel their mark if it has already registered), you can take it up with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or TTAB.  Trademark litigation is a specialized type of practice that runs a bit like a federal court trial, though most of it happens in writing rather than “live and in person.”  A good illustration of this is the recent (January 7, 2013) case that pitted Mitchell Miller d/b/a The Miller Law Group against Michelle Miller d/b/a, you guessed it, The Miller Law Group.

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