This is why Norwegian celebrities choose to protect their name

More and more people see the value of protecting their brand. This also applies to many Norwegian celebrities. Well-known names such as Karpe, Erling Braut Haaland, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, Gabrielle, Magnus Karlsen, Astrid S and Fredrik Skavland have all submitted applications to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.

In 2022, the Norwegian Patent Office received around 17,700 applications for trademark registrations. Several of these applications were from Norwegian celebrities. 

Why apply for trademark registration of your name? 

- The reason why celebrities choose to protect their name is to secure exclusive rights to the name as a trademark. An exclusive right makes it easier to stop abuse, but it also makes it easier to license your name to others. In other words, it provides a good basis for agreements. An application costs only NOK 2,900 and if it is registered, it must only be renewed after 10 years, says Knut Andreas Bostad, section manager in the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's design and trademark department. 

Many celebrities apply for trademark registration for clothes and shoes, which may indicate that several may have a dream of their own collection. One of those who has fulfilled this dream is Pia Tjelta. Tjelta has applied for trademark registration for, among other things, clothes and shoes, but also for the publication of electronic books and magazines online, artist performances and show productions. 

- I work as both an actor and a fashion designer. The clothes I design bear my name, and then it is natural that this trademark is registered. Among other things, this provides a clear framework for the right to use the trademark, says Tjelta. 

A selection of trademarks that celebrities have registered with the Norwegian Patent Office
A selection of trademarks that celebrities have registered with the Norwegian Patent Office

Erling Braut Haaland has applied to register his name, signature and a figure mark in several classes, including on sunglasses, music and computer games, watches, rucksacks and clothing. Karpe has registered the name for, among other things, music and music equipment, clothing and services for film and music. Lars Monsen has registered trademarks for, among other things, tools and implements, firearms, precious metals, leather, furniture, rope and textiles. 

- We see that many musicians now see the importance of trademark registration as there can be great income in selling their own "merchandise". And for some it is also important to prevent others from importing or selling such products, says Bostad. 

Good business 

Registering your name as a trademark has also been good business for former sports stars. Both Bjørn Dæhlie, Kari Traa, Lasse Kjus and Vegard Ulvang have earned millions from products that can be linked to their sports. 

Sports hero Johannes Høsflot Klæbo has also seen the commercial potential in his name. He has applied for and had his own name and JHK registered for, among other things, bleaching agents and other means for laundry, polishing, stain removal, shower soaps, shampoos, conditioners, perfumes and essential oils. 

What requirements must be in place to get an application for trademark registration approved? 

- We assume that 85% of all applications we receive will be approved. If celebrities apply to trademark their own name, it is often easy to get it approved. The mistake we see that many people make, however, is that they perhaps apply a little late, only after the name has been "misused" or someone has registered it as a domain name or company name. It can quickly become expensive to win back the name and gain control over it, says Bostad. He elaborates: 

- For companies that will have a product on the market or use the name in marketing, the most common pitfall is that they choose a name that describes the product or a name that is registered for the same goods and services. Then they often have to start all over again, and that requires both time and money. 

Requires approval 

The Trademarks Act states that a trademark cannot be registered without the consent of the relevant rights holder if it contains something that can be perceived as someone else's name, stage name or portrait, unless it is obviously aimed at a long-deceased person. 

Henrik Ibsen, for example, is approved as a trademark because it refers to a historical person, and that person has "died a long time ago", as required by the Trademark Act. 

If the name is distinctive and you have consent, it can be registered for all goods and services. Among royal names, we have King Haakon and Queen Sonja as registered trademarks for chocolate products, and in these cases the chocolate manufacturer has obtained approval from the Palace. 

So, you cannot simply register the name of some well-known person as a trademark, you must have approval first. However, you can register your own name. 

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