In most cases, using a character's name from a fictional universe is not a trademark infringement (unless the character is being reused, that would be a copyright infringement). Why does this happen?

  • 1
    I don't have the legal background in trademark law to write a full answer, but the extremely short and oversimplified version is this: Trademarks are about consumer confusion. No confusion, no problem - in theory. In practice, it's much more complicated than that because you also have to consider dilution and other "indirect" causes of confusion.
    – Kevin
    Aug 2 at 2:03
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    Does this answer your question? Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors?
    – Vogon Poet
    Aug 2 at 14:15
  • Copyright and Trademark are two unrelated things. Which are you asking about?
    – Chenmunka
    Aug 2 at 15:29
  • @Chenmunka About trademark specifically. Aug 2 at 15:55
  • Trademarks must be registered in every relevant jurisdiction. Simply check with the authorities.
    – Chenmunka
    Aug 2 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


First, a trademark has to be registered with an authority, such as the US Patent and Trademark Office, to be recognized as such. One does not automatically gain trademark protection, it has to be obtained by applying for one. Which is not automatically approved, by the way.

Second, even if a name is trademarked, a trademark does not work the same was as copyright. Trademarks are mostly about protecting your brand, that is, ensuring the public knows a particular name or image is associated with you, or your company, and not a competitor or imitator. It's not really concerned with preventing other people from using the same name, or image, just using it in a way that would "confuse the public" in regards to authenticity or origin of it.

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