Everyone dreams about being a celebrity, and many want the lifestyle of the rich and famous. I mean why wouldn't you? Most want the glam and pomp, and would love for the opportunity to rub elbows with the individuals who grace the big screen. There is Cristal flowing in the Champagne room, flashbulbs popping around you, and that Hollywood lifestyle most only dream about. Girls still go wild at the mere mention of Brad Pitt, Aaron Hurvitz, and Leonardo DiCaprio, and guys' ears perk up anytime Charlize Theron's name is mentioned.
These names are wildly popular around the world, and I think it is safe to say that some are simply obsessed. In China, there is an entirely separate infatuation, one that has become viral. Some individuals are so overcome by their favorite superstar that they register or attempt to register their hero's name as a trademark. That's right you read this correctly! Many celebrities are having their names registered as a trademark in China without their authorization! But wait a minute, what happened to just hoping for an autograph and a blurry snapshot to put on Facebook!?
Yes, unfortunately there are significant problems with celebrities having their names registered without their authorization - but is this even allowed? Well, according to the Trademark Law in China, if a trademark is the same as another person's name and the registration may cause damage to that person, such trademark shall be rejected or cancelled. Further, during examination, the reputation of a name is usually taken into consideration.
Now, let's look at the man in the mirror here, what about the Michael Jordan case? Someone has registered the Michael Jordan trademark in China, and this obviously has the Windy City's favorite son a bit upset. China is a first to file country, and in most cases the individual who files their trademark first will be the unequivocal owner. So what about Mike? Well, Michael Jordan is actually in fairly good shape, although I would not call it a slam dunk. If a well-known celebrity finds that a company or person is using their name, that individual can sue based on the name right of the celebrity. Now, what if the Trademark Office missed their free throw and the name was registered, can Mike call a time-out!? He sure can! Not only can Mike call a time-out, but he can also file a dispute cancellation against the registered trademark based on his name right.
So, what options does Mike have as a last second 3-point play to get his trademark back from an overzealous fan? Further, what can he do to prevent future use of his name, essentially putting his trademark in retirement and hanging it from the rafters? In order to get his name back, Mike needs to prove that the trademark is identical to his name, identification name, nickname or other name known to others, and that the present registration of the trademark may cause damage to him.
If you have got the moves like Jagger, think "That's Hot" like Paris, or want to be like Mike, remember their name is their own. I would suggest you pass on registering their trademark, and simply register for their fan club instead.