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In particular, I wonder about this because I believe most published works tend to have statements to the effect that "all characters, ... are trademarks of ..." and from what I've heard, it is not allowed to change one's name to a name that is trademarked.

So would this mean that, say, it would be illegal to try and change one's name to, say, "Spock" (as in the character from the original Star Trek), or say, "Bilbo" as in J.R.R. Tolkien's famous Hobbit? If so, though, could one modify the name so that it becomes "okay" while still bearing some resemblance to the original and, if so, how much would it take? E.g. if, instead of naming oneself "Bilbo Baggins" you tried "Bilboe Keane" (note both the spelling and surname changes), or something similar?

The country of interest is the United States.

  • What is and is not permitted for names has massive variation around the world, to the extent that both yes and no, as well as weak maybe and strong maybe are all valid answers. Please pick a jurisdiction. – Nij Mar 26 at 20:43
  • @Nij : I mentioned this was for the United States of America, but maybe it was not quite visible enough. – The_Sympathizer Mar 26 at 20:55
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It’s unlawful to name goods and services after a trademark in a way that would cause confusion. You are neither a good nor a service.

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