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Can I sue someone for a royalty (or just in general) for creating a business with my name in it and who never asked me?

Carlsbad, CA |

There really are no specifics. I know the person very well and he never asked me if he could create a business name after me, so I'm wondering if I can get a royalty out of it, or at least sue for a lot.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. You do need some more specific facts. Has the person has taken your likeness to which you believe he or she has no right and exploited it for commercial purposes? Many people don't know that the subject of a photo doesn't have any rights in the photo by virtue of being in it. Copyright comes into existence at the point of creation so under normal circumstances the photographer will own the copyright for his or her work. If you do own a copyright then you can't sue anyone for copyright infringement of photos unless you have registered the copyright.


  2. You probably have no right to royalties or claim of infringement, unless you are a public figure. A person will be held liable for infringement only if he or she has a "bad faith intent to profit from the mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark, e.g. the name of a Hollywood celebrity whose name identifies his or her performances.

    If you are a professional, and the other person is a professional, then use of your name may be unlawful. Rules and regulations of a profession may restrict the name style of the
    corporation. For information about name style requirements, contact the California board or agency having jurisdiction over your profession.

    Proviso: My response does not constitute legal advice, as I do not know all of the relevant facts of your case, and I do not legally represent you. Although I strive to make sure the information I provide is generally accurate and useful, you should promptly consult an able lawyer who can learn the unique details of your case more completely in a confidential relationship to ensure that the information I provide, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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