Apparently, the two main reasons given as to why Professor Stephen Hawking wants this trademark, is to prevent any exploitation of his name on inappropriate products, and for charitable and educational purposes. Professor Hawking's image has already appeared on t-shirts, including phrases such as "The Hawking Dead" and "Nerds with Attitude: Some thugs just want to watch the world learn", as well as aprons, mugs, and mouse pads.
Primarily, the trademark is for 'charitable purposes', which could enable Prof. Hawking to set up his own foundation dedicated to motor-neurone disease. If successful, Prof. Hawking can decide how his name is used on goods, from postcards to educational books, according to the official application document.
While Prof. Hawking's legacy has been continually praised over the past decades for his contribution to science, his recent exposure in the media's limelight could have triggered the trademarking of his name. In 2012, Stephen Hawking made his first appearance on the U.S. hit sitcom 'Big Bang Theory', and in 2014,'The Theory of Everything', a biopic based on his early life.
Trade mark mania is a hot topic. Alongside Prof. Hawking, many other have trademarked famous names, such as J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, who registered several trade marks for characters named in the book series. Also, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Jay Z applied for a trademark on their daughter's name, Blue Ivy Carter, back in 2012.
Big names should consider registering trademarks early in their career to stop their reputation being taken advantage of. Many celebrities and prominent people are looking to trademark law to provide a platform to licence their high-profile status for endorsement and merchandising opportunities and provide protection against unauthorised use. Most recently we have seen this in the trademark application by Stephen Hawking, following the biographical film about his life, The Theory of Everything. Mr Hawking applied for a trademark in the UK for a variety of goods and services — notably vehicles, charity services, educational teaching supplies and books. So how difficult is it to trademark a name?