27 February 2017Jurisdiction reportsMaria Zamkova

Picking the perfect name

However, Svensson is not the name of some well-known Swedish people, including sportsmen Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Björn Borg, who have registered their personal names as trademarks.

‘Zlatan’ has been a Swedish word mark registration since June 19, 2003, covering “computer programs” in class 9, “bags” in class 18, and “clothes, footwear, headgear” in class 25. The full name ‘Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ was registered on January 29, 2015 as an EU trademark, now covering goods and services in 18 different classes.

‘Björn Borg’ was initially registered in 1995 for all goods and services in classes 3, 25 and 28, and Borg has since expanded the trademark protection to cover the EU, US, Mexico, Japan and several other countries around the world.

So, back to Svensson. If you are not a well-known athlete, movie star or writer, can you still create a personal identity by using your surname?

With the growing trend to have your personal Twitter account, Facebook page and similar sites, the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) has seen a continuous increase in personalised applications. And we are not talking about trademark applications—the opportunity to change your surname has become very popular.

PRV received 9,261 new surname applications in 2016, compared to 846 in 1994 and 4,178 in 1998. The number of surname applications was in fact slightly higher than the Swedish national trademark applications in 2016: 9,132 (cf. 9,838 applications in 1998).

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