Trademark Protection for Presidents’ Names Law and Legal Definition

The Lanham Act specifically prohibits use of a President’s name as a trademark, if the President is alive, and has not given express written consent. If the President is deceased, but the President’s spouse is still alive, written consent must be obtained from the spouse before the President’s name may be used. This protection is not afforded to common citizens of the U.S. It is not provided to sports or movie stars, military heroes or the justices of the Supreme Court.

In the U.S., all people are protected from having their names turned into trademarks during their lives. This personal right expires upon the death of the person because that is the nature of a personal right. However, after the death of a president, his name cannot be used as a trademark during the life of his widow, unless the widow provides her consent.