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How Do I/Do I Need To Register My Band Name?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by rbf738, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    It's a name which I'm not seeing any incarnations of online for the exact phrasing I'm using. There's an instance of the bandname proceeded by "The", but I'm not using "the" so technically it's different.

    Anyways, I wanted to know what's the protocol for locking down a name legally so no one sneaks it away from me later?
  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    You need to obtain a trademark. In the US, go to:


    As for "the" being or not being there, it probably won't fly. Trademarks are there partially to help prevent confusion in the marketplace. Yours may not be different enough to qualify.

    Once you get to the website, do a search! You must search for the trademark to see if anyone has it. THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS! Not finding it online doesn't mean anything. It's the OFFICIAL USPTO database that counts.

    You can apply without searching - but you will not get your money back if someone else already owns it.

    You can apply already knowing someone else has it - but you will not get your money back. They will register your trademark anyway, but when you go to court, the court checks the date of registration...first come, first served.

    What is up with hyperlinks? Why is this whole post a giant link?

  3. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    Thanks for the quick reply, I did a search for the name, absolutely nothing came up. I tried searching with the "the" as well and nothing came up.

    I also did a search for a few of my favorite bands, ones with actual radio play and mainstream success and with band names which aren't especially unique... and found nothing... is it even necessary if I can't find it for anything? Would this ensure that I have legal claim to the name if no one else has ever registered anything, even if there are existing similar band names to mine and they get huffy?

    I'm also not sure about your take on the "The" issue. As an example, "The Verve" had to change their name because "Verve" was taken and threatened action I believe.

    I also did some more searching on this topic and it appears that copyrighting your name is a plus, but someone can still win in court if they can prove that they were using the name first. So basically it seems like you just need to register a website, release music, play live shows, anything you can do to show that you are a band and were doing stuff before another band tries to use that name.
  4. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    "Prior Art" is a term used to deny trademarks. For example, Donald Trump tried to trademark "You're Fired!", but it was denied because a pottery business in Chicago proved it was using the name for the last 35 years without registering. SO be careful, and read, read, read!
  5. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    So I may be okay considering I've registered a domain related to the band name (couldn't get the straight up bandname.COM, it's parked by some domain company who likely wants thousands of dollars for it) and made some posts and self released our debut record and sold a few copies already online of it under the name... that could be used as my "prior art" argument?
  6. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    The website has all sorts of free info. It's a lengthy read, but well worth it.

    You yourself do not need a prior art argument to register for a trademark. Prior art is often used by others to contest your application. That's all.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Passman's Book has a bunch of info on band names. Not sure if it answers your question, but worth reading.

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