A British physicist in the name of Stephen Hawking, made famous in the world over, for his pioneering research in the face of pronounced physical disability, has recently applied to trademark his name, alongside author J.K. Rowling, soccer star David Beckham and fellow physicist Brian Cox.
Hawking, who, unexpectedly applied for the trademark reasoned out that it is for the protection of his name, so that people may be prevented from exploiting his name by using it in inappropriate products, according to a report by Techie News.
Another reason could be that, the trademark would also allow him, if he has plans of putting up a charitable institution, possibly to support research in physics or any related field, or motor neuron disease.
The physicist, who is also a professor at University of Cambridge, who was recently portrayed by actor Eddie Redmayne (who went on to win an Academy Award for his performance) in the 2014 biopic “The Theory of Everything,” suffers from a motor neuron disease related to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a specific disorder that involves the death of neurons that control voluntary muscles. He was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 21. Hawking is completely paralyzed and is not able to speak without the aid of a computerized speech synthesizer.
He is also an author, and being such, he wrote the best-selling popular science book, “A Brief History of Time” (Bantam Dell Publishing Group, 1988). But he is most famous for his studies of black holes and other space-time singularities.
In a statement, a University of Cambridge spokesman said, “The move to trademark his name is “a personal matter for Stephen Hawking; it is not a university issue, but he has taken measures to protect his name and the success it has brought,” according to Techie News.
Chris McLeod, president of the Institute of Trademark Attorneys, said: “If Hawking’s request is granted, it could be worth millions of British pounds. The trademark would cover the use of his name for computer games, powered wheelchairs, greeting cards and health care,” according to news reports.
Recently, Hawking made headlines with his warning about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence, which he has said could “spell the end of the human race.” A number of elite tech leaders, including Elon Musk and Bill Gates, have sounded similar alarms, though experts say the development of machines with humanlike intelligence is many decades away.