Trademark a business name from a work of fiction?

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?

I suggest you do a search on “Duff Beer Lawsuit”

Generally not. Authors rarely trademark names of fictional products; too expensive. Also, in order to have a trademark, you need to use it, so if you’re not making the product, the trademark will quickly lapse.

I’m not finding much on the Duff Beer lawsuit. I can find a few web pages that reference that it occurred: That Fox sued a brewery for selling “Duff” beer, but the name of the suit or the exact outcome are not very forthcoming. Several sites say that Fox won, but it’s not clear if the brewery settled, or agreed to stop making the beer, or if it actually went to court.

ETA: And, of course, now I find something better. This is the best source I’ve found, which says that it was decided in Federal court.