Naming a Studio. please help.


Jason James

I'm trying to name my new place so I can start making business cards etc. Almost all the names I've come up with are taken somewhere in the US or world. Since I'm in TX can I legally use a name of a studio in NY? Can I use the name and do something generic like "studio name--Austin" or someting? Any help would be appreciated. I want to do things "right" so I don't have to change my studio name after I have cards etc made. Thanks



Yes you can do that. AS long as there is something unique about it that is part of the full legal name. Though it's not a good idea if you don't want to be confused with someone else. (There's actually a studio here called DREAMWORKS and there's nothing Spielberg can do about it, they had the name first - that's why it's called DREAMWORKS SKG)

The best thing to do is to make up a completely new word.

Doug Milton

Well-Known Member
Sep 23, 2002
Before deciding, you may want to read “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” by Al Ries and Laura Ries. This is a very good book about how to develop your product or service into a known brand name. By using examples from major corporate successes and failures the authors show ways to pick a name that will help your prospective customer find you in an over crowded marketplace.

Also good is “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.


Mar 22, 2003
Hello. Jason you can have the exact same name as an existing entity, but there are some caveats. For example you could be called Bennigan's. While the restaurant chain could make a fuss, it is highly unlikely that they would, because nobody in their right mind would confuse a restaurant for a recording studio. In other words, nobody looking in the yellow pages for restaurants would mistakenly go to recording studios (or would they?). Also, your studio would physically look nothing like the restaurant. It's not like some tourist driving down the street would go by your studio, see the sign and walk in expecting a meal. However, if you wanted to open a restaurant called Bennigan's that's another story. In that case you would call it JJ Bennigan's. However, it is unlikely the Secretary of State would allow the name to avoid confusion.

If you wanted to call your studio Tequila Mockingbird or JJ's Tequila Mockingbird again you would have a problem. However, if you wanted to call it the Hit Factory, Ocean Studio, Sound Kitchen, etc. you probably could. It would depend on how those famous names are set up. If they have a national trademark or just in their state of operation. They may not even have a trademark at all. If they don't have a national trademark, and they wanted to sue it would most likely be thrown out because they don't own that name in Texas. About the only danger would be if you would have similar national (or international) clientele, in which case you could be considered liable. But if you have a different clientele you would most likely be OK. In other words, recording VO for audio books in Austin under the name Hit Factory doesn't infringe on the name Hit Factory in New York and Florida. The client bases are completely different and they are in different states.

You can check with the Secretary of State in Austin. You may be even able to pop in their office and do one of two things, or both. You can ask for a list of registered trademarks in the state of Texas, and you can submit a name for approval. One thing to remember about approval from the Secretary of State. Just because they allow it doesn't mean you may keep the name. It just means that whatever pencil pusher went through your application didn't find anything wrong with it.

I'm by no means a lawyer, and if you have your heart set on a famous or recognizable name, check with a lawyer before jumping in.