Names serve as important symbolic representations of individual identities and as a crucial tool for state documentation of those who reside within their borders. To what extent is the right to a name protected under international law and general principles like privacy and freedom of expression?  After analyzing the jurisprudential status of the right to a name, I consider its application in cases involving the parental naming of children, i.e., giving names, and individuals who challenge government policies that force them to take their husbands’ surnames, i.e., changing names.  The enforcement of regulations governing the use of names illustrates the limits of law. This study demonstrates the importance of symbols for identity and shows how the law is employed to attempt to control the choice of particular symbols.