Can a fictional character that is out of copyright protection still have trademark protection? What uses of such a character are permitted or not permitted? Please provide a current real-world example.

  • 3
    Sure, why not? If you look in your local trademark registry, I'm sure you'll see some examples.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 23:27
  • The short answer is "yes" but an answer with support and examples will take longer to write.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 23:56

2 Answers 2


Yes - I’m posting a screenshot of the USPTO TESS database after a search for “little tramp”, Charlie Chaplin’s character.

The two issued trademarks are now dead but they were issued.

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Details of first trademark -

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Some notable examples of characters not subject to copyright in at least some jurisdictions but active trademarks are:

Bugs Bunny

James Bond


Alice in Wonderland

Note that the works these particular representations of those characters are taken from may still be subject to copyright: Thor the character has no copyright; Thor that looks like Chris Hemsworth with the gear Chris war in the Marvel movies is subject to copyright.

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    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 23:55

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