As one of the best known scientists in the world, Professor Stephen Hawking has applied to trademark his name.
The theoretical physicist, cosmologist and best-selling author’s name is inked on everything from mugs to t-shirts, and it is believed that the decision will allow the eminent scientist some control over what his name is attached to.
Professor Hawking’s decision follows that of fellow scientist Professor Brian Cox, the Human Universe presenter, who is also already believed to have applied to the Intellectual Property Office to trademark his name.
The Cambridge scientist, whose life story was played out by Eddie Redmayne in an Oscar-winning film released earlier this year, plans to use the trademark in order to prevent individuals exploiting his name with inappropriate products.
A spokesperson for the university, where Professor Hawking is director of research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, said the decision was “a personal matter”.
Famous people and the actors who have played them
Famous people and the actors who have played them
1/23 Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs...
Kutcher played the US entrepreneur who brought the world the iPod in 2013's 'Jobs'.
2/23 ...and the real CEO of Apple
The real Steve Jobs died in 2011 from respiratory arrest. He has been described as the 'father of the digital revolution' and the 'master evangelist of the digital age'. Shame 'Jobs' received decidedly mixed reviews with Kutcher's portrayal much criticised as superficial.
3/23 Helen Mirren as HRH Queen Elizabeth II...
Mirren won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in 2007's 'The Queen'. Stephen Frears' film depicts the aftermath of Princess Diana's death.
4/23 ...and England's real monarch
'The Queen' received widespread acclaim, with Mirren invited to dinner at Buckingham Palace after the film's release. The English actress was unable to attend due to filming commitments in Hollywood.
5/23 ...and the real World War II codebreaker
Codebreaker Alan Turing relaxes with friends before his Bletchley Park days during the Second World War.
6/23 David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King...
Oyelowo won critical praise for his role as the civil rights activist in Selma, despite being snubbed by the Oscars for his performance.
Photo credit: Atsushi Nishijima/© MMXIV Paramount Pictures
7/23 ...and the real civil rights activists
US Baptist minister and activist Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in 1968.
8/23 Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking...
Redmayne won the Best Actor Oscar at the 2015 Academy Awards for playing the famed physicist in The Theory of Everything.
9/23 ...and the real theoretical physicist
Stephen Hawking is renowned in the world of science for his work on the theory of time.
10/23 Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles...
Foxx won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as blind rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles in 2004's 'Ray'.
11/23 ...and the real soul legend
Charles was planning to attend the premiere of 'Ray' but died several months beforehand of liver disease.
Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP/Getty Images
12/23 Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher...
Streep won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal as Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 2011's 'The Iron Lady'. Her performance was widely-acclaimed and considered one of her finest.
13/23 ...and the real Iron Lady
Thatcher did not watch 'The Iron Lady' so had no comment to make on Streep's presentation of her. Her children Mark and Carol were unimpressed, saying the film sounded like 'some left-wing fantasy' prior to its completion.
Fox Photos/Getty Images
14/23 Naomi Watts as Princess Diana...
Watts took on the title role of the Princess of Wales for 2013's 'Diana' about the last two years of her life. The film was slated by critics, with The Mirror writing that 'Wesley Snipes in a blonde wig would be more convincing' as Diana than Watts. Ouch.
15/23 ...and the real Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales died in a Paris car crash in the summer of 1997. What she would have made of Watt's performance in 'Diana' is a question best left unanswered.
16/23 Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor...
Lohan played Taylor in TV movie 'Liz and Dick' about the Hollywood icon's torrid relationship with Richard Burton
17/23 ...and the real iconic actress
'Liz and Dick' was panned by critics with comments including 'campy and overwrought' and 'an epic of pathetic miscasting'.
18/23 Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln...
Day Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the former US president in 2012's 'Lincoln'. The film centres on Lincoln's efforts in January 1985 to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery.
19/23 ...and the real former US president
'Lincoln' was warmly received by critics, with reviews including phrases such as 'the most remarkable movie Steven Spielberg has made' and 'one of the finest historical dramas ever committed to film'.
20/23 Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf...
Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as post-War author Virginia Woolf in 2002's 'The Hours'. The film was highly-acclaimed and also won the Best Picture Oscar.
21/23 ...and the real 'Mrs Dalloway' author
Woolf was not alive to see the film, having committed suicide by drowning in 1941. But she might well have been impressed, with journalists describing the film as 'deeply moving' and 'amazingly faithful'.
22/23 Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote...
Hoffman, who died in February 2014 from a drugs overdose, won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' writer in 2005's 'Capote'.
23/23 ...and the real 'In Cold Blood' author
Capote died from liver cancer and drug intoxication in 1984 aged 59. 'Capote', and Hoffman's performance in particular, were praised by critics.
“It is not a university issue, but he has taken measures to protect his name and the success it has bought,” the spokesperson told The Sunday Times.
The newspaper reported that Professor Hawking had applied to trademark his name for charitable purposes.
This move would allow him the option to set up a foundation or a research initiative into motor neurone disease – the degenerative condition he was diagnosed with aged just 21.
Although it is relatively rare for individuals to trademark their names, the well known author JK Rowling and footballer David Beckham have both taken the step.Reuse content