Q: Hi. I wanted to start a small business, I wanted to name it after a fictional character from a movie.
In the movie Young Guns, there is a character named Dirty Steve Steven's. I am looking into opening my own homemade soap business and calling it Dirty Steve's Homemade Soap. I want to use a chicken as the mascot but want it to be dressed like the character. Is this legal?
It really depends on whether or not the name is copyrighted. Even if it is not, the production company or studio that has the rights to the movie, and that is protected by copyright. They can decide to sue you claiming that since the movie is copyrighted, so is the name of the fictional character. Your best approach would be to contact them and get a waiver or a licensing agreement from them that allows you to use that name. Better to find out know instead of putting all that time, effort, and money into the project only to have a big law firm send you a cease and desist letter, or worse, two years from now sue you after you have built up a brand name.
Joseph B. LaRocco, Esq.
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