It is a shrewd act which puts Scotland’s most famous actor in the same company as global superstars like rapper 50 Cent, former England footballer David Beckham and the singer Beyonce.
Sir Sean Connery, one of the world’s most recognisable men, has discreetly trademarked his own name in order to protect his brand and prevent others from cashing in on his fame.
Documents filed in both the EU and the US show that the veteran Scots star has enlisted the help of lawyers to ensure that he and he alone can turn a profit by licensing his name for use.
The decision to trademark one’s name has become increasingly popular among younger, high earning celebrities in recent years, but even though more than a decade has passed since Sir Sean brought the curtain down on his award-winning film career, the 87-year-old remains a formidable commercial draw.
Documents filed with the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) show that he and his advisors have taken steps to protect his name across a slew of trademark classes, meaning that his name cannot be used for a range of goods and services without permission and payment.
The restrictions include obvious commercial products such as DVDs, books, games, and clothing, but also span a range of items commonplace in the movie memorabilia trade, such as mugs, coasters, plates, and figurines. A host of such items, the vast majority of which is manufactured in China, are widely available for sale online, but having successfully trademarked his name, Sir Sean and his lawyers will be able to take legal action against the firms involved.
In what may be a nod to Bond’s penchant for vodka martinis, the trademark also applies to cocktail shakers, as well as bottle openers, shot glasses, and wine glasses.
The restrictions even cover the likes of bumper stickers, oven mitts and greeting cards, as well as toilet paper, toothbrushes and napkin holders.
Campbell Newell, a partner at the Edinburgh office of intellectual property specialists Marks & Clerk, said: “Generally, we are seeing more celebrities registering their names and there have even been attempts by some individuals to register the rights to their faces to stop others riding on their proverbial coat tails.
“Trademarks are assets, so if you are in the creative industries, there is a benefit in registering your name. Quite often, you will be doing some sort of licensing arrangement with someone else.”
He added: “David Beckham, for example, has been doing adverts for Haig whisky, and there will be a licensing arrangement between him and the firm. A trademark is something tangible which you can can license to third parties with various terms and conditions.”
Sir Sean last appeared in front of the camera in 2003’s League of Extraordinary Gentleman, although he only officially confirmed his retirement three years later when accepting the American Film Institute’s lifetime achievement award. Since then, the former James Bond actor has divided his time between his homes in New York and Lyford Cay, an exclusive gated community in the Bahamas.
Five years ago, he announced he would no longer make official public appearances.