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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.

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    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

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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.

enter image description here

Details of first trademark -

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Yes

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

Bugs Bunny

James Bond

Thor

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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  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Law Meta, or in Law Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 23:55

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