I noticed a billboard for Bubba Gump shrimp the other day, and it made me wonder what kinds of rights apply to business names in works of fiction. In the case of Bubba Gump (and the recent 7-11/Kwik-e-marts), the businesses are sanctioned/sponsored by the company in question. But what if someone else were to start a business using a name from a movie or book? I don’t think that copyright would apply, since you can’t copyright a title or name.
Do authors automatically get some amount of trademark protection for describing a fictitious business?