Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

Trademark Funny: SpongeBoy Ahoy?

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on April 14, 2019

SpongeBoy

Via Wikipedia, a story on the importance of trademark clearance searches:

Initially, Hillenburg wanted to use the name SpongeBoy—the character would have had no last name, and the series would have been called SpongeBoy Ahoy![33][39]However, the Nickelodeon legal department discovered—after voice acting had been completed for the original seven-minute pilot episode—that the name “SpongeBoy” was already in use for a mop product.[39]A character of the same name was also already trademarked by Flaming Carrot Comics creator Bob Burden.[40]In choosing a replacement name, Hillenburg felt that he still had to use the word “Sponge”, so that viewers would not mistake the character for a “Cheese Man”. He settled on the name “SpongeBob”. “SquarePants” was then chosen as a family name after Kenny saw a picture of the character and remarked, “Boy, look at this sponge in square pants, thinking he can get a job in a fast food place.”[34]Hillenburg loved the phrase upon hearing Kenny say it and felt that it would reinforce the character’s nerdiness.[34][41]

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