Restrictions on a Name Change
Below are a few of the restrictions placed on new names:
- Names of Famous People
Choosing the same name as a famous person can be difficult. You may choose the name of someone famous so long as you are not adopting the name for fraudulent purposes. However, from a practical perspective, the court examines these applications very closely. For example, if you want to use the name "Britney Spears," you will have to convince the court that you do not look, act or sing like Britney and that you are not changing your name to take advantage of her fame.
- Trademarked Names
Company names and product names are usually protected by copyrights and trademarks. You should receive consent from whoever owns the fictitious name beforehand. For instance, if you wish to change your name to "Bose Audio" you should first receive consent from the company.
- Initials, Numbers, and One-word Names
Initials, numbers, and one-word names can all be used as legal names. For instance, Malcolm X was a legal name. Many of us have heard of the musician Prince changing his legal name to a simple sign (and then changing it back to Prince again). Nonetheless, one-word names and signs are typically more difficult to get approved.
- Racial Slurs and Forbidden Words
Profane words and racial slurs will not be accepted by courts. It is best to stay away from attempting to change your name to a racial slur or profane word.