Trademarks

What is a trademark or servicemark?

A trademark is a symbol or word used to identify the source of goods or services, and it gives the owner statutory rights. It allows its owner to exclude others from using confusingly similar names. A servicemark is similar but applies only to services. The benefits of registering for a trademark include public notice of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership of the mark, the ability to bring legal action to prevent others from using the mark in federal court, a basis for registering the mark in foreign territories, the right to use the trademark symbol, listing of the mark in the United States Patent and Trademark database.

Why register for a trademark?

You spend a great deal of resources, both time and money, developing a name for your band. Without a registration of the name others can use the same or similar names and your only remedy if a common law action for unfair competition. You will have to prove how much the other bands use of the name actually cost you, a difficult, if not impossible, task. Trademarks registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office (‘USPTO’) entitle you to statutory damages.

Similarly, it is critical that you search to ensure the name is available before you commence using it. Do not develop a following for your name only to have to abandon it later when it is discovered that another band already owns it. The USPTO has an electronic search system (TESS) database that you can use free of charge to see if the name (or one very similar) is already registered. Combing the internet via Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Myspace for use of the group name will also reveal bands that may not yet have registered but will surface to oppose your application based on first use. There are also search firms such as Thomson and Thomson, Corsearch, and Name Protect that will provide thorough reports for a fee. The Trademark can be of your band name or band logo. My office can assist you in registering and protecting your band name/logo.

Who qualifies for a trademark?

Once your band has used the name in ‘interstate commerce’ you qualify for a federal trademark. This can be accomplished by selling music in more than one state or performing live in more than one state under the applicable name. If you operating in only one state you may qualify for a statewide trademark.

For a free consultation call (800) 718-4658 or email at Randal@music-attorney.com