In India, celebrities have begun to register their names as trademarks to protect their name and image from being misappropriated. It also restricts the commercial use, which includes films, television, and commercials. Previously, Section 9(d) of The Trademark and Merchandise Act, 1958 explicitly refused the trademark of personal names and surnames. However, the Trade Marks Act, 1999, lacks any provision to include or exclude personal names or surnames from getting trademark protection. As per Section 2(zb) of the Act, “trade mark” means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colors. A name or a surname cannot be given protection under the Trade Marks Act, 1999 if it does not have a distinguishing character. This means that personal names or surnames can be registered as a trademark when it bears some distinctiveness.
However, there are various examples of celebrities who have trademarked their names. Actress Kajol has filed trademark applications in many categories, including telecommunications, websites, household goods, carpets, bags. Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor owns the trademark ‘Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana,’ for his Television cooking show. Cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, have protected their image rights by trademarking their name or domain names for their websites. Celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgan have also registered their names as trademarks.