According to an article in this weekend's Sunday Times, the two main reasons given as to why Hawking wants this trademark, is to prevent any exploitation of his name on inappropriate products, and for charitable and educational purposes.
Hawking's image has already appeared on t-shirts — including phrases such as "The Hawking Dead" and "Nerds with Attitude: Some thugs just want to watch the world learn" — as well as aprons, mugs, and mouse pads.
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Primarily, the trademark is for 'charitable purposes', which could enable Hawking to set up his own foundation, dedicated to motor-neurone disease, which Hawking was diagnosed with (ALS) in 1963.
If successful, Hawking can decide how his name is used on goods, from postcards to educational books, according to the official document.
A spokesperson from Cambridge University, where Hawking has previously taught at, told The Sunday Times, that "it's a personal matter, it is not a university issue, but he has taken measures to protect his name and the success it has brought."
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While Hawking's legacy has been continually praised over the past decades for his contribution to science, it is his recent ventures in the media's limelight which could have triggered links to trademarking his name.
In 2012, Stephen Hawking made his first appearance on the U.S. hit sitcom 'Big Bang Theory', and in 2014,'The Theory of Everything' - a biopic based on Hawking's early life (starring Eddie Redmayne) — grabbed international acclaim and a number of film awards.