If I name my son "Nintendo", and my son goes on to make headlines doing bad things, I can imagine the company named "Nintendo" wouldn't be too happy. Similarly if I named my kid "Google" or "Microsoft" or "Sony", etc..

As such, would the name you give your child be subject to copyright/trademark law?

As a follow-up, what about if I wanted to legally change my name to "Nintendo"? Lastly, what about the names of fictional characters? E.g. writing a story and having the main villain named "Nintendo"?

1 Answer 1



The Names of actual people can neither be trademarked nor can a name have a valid copyrighted. There is no valid market class for names of people, making it impossible to register a trademark in that category. As a result, neither copyright nor trademark will prevent someone from attempting to name a kid "Nintendo" or "Sony Music".

While you could try to name your kid Nintendo, unless you are in the US, most countries like or do safeguard what you can name a child. Those countries will deny your name as endangering the (mental) health of the child or in other way making the child a target for mockery. Compare to names in all lowercase, line breaks, and infinitely long names.

  • I'm not asking about trademarking your child's name. I'm asking if an existing trademark/copyright could put you/the child in trouble for using the name. And my question is meant for the United States. Sorry for not clarifying that.
    – chausies
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 16:01
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    @chausies FYI multi-jurisdictional answers are actively encouraged on this site regardless of tags. From the help pages: "Even if you supply a jurisdiction tag, we expect and encourage answers dealing with other jurisdictions – while it might not answer your question directly, your question will be here for others who may be from those jurisdictions."
    – user35069
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 16:25
  • @chausies As Rick noted: multi jurisdictions are ok. As I said, most jurisdictions actually do regulate what is allowed as a name, and I just named two I have elaborated on before.
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 16:28
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    Another issue is that a trademark only extends to the industries in commerce in which it is used, which never includes personal names. Indeed, people are now and then named after trademark names in the U.S.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 18:08

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