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Trademarking the band name?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    So in other news (if anyone's also following the originals band thread I started)... I started playing in an oldies band - Elvis, early Beatles, Tommy James and the Shondelles, that kind of stuff. We're getting the set list together, tightening up, anticipating finding gigs. An email goes around from the singer today that to register the band name with the patent office (I assume he means to trademark it?) will cost $480. I wasn't even aware that we had settled on a name! I'm sure it's premature at the very least to drop money on a trademark when we haven't even played a gig yet.

    My question, though, is when do you EVER do this? How many guys out there have registered band names, was it worth it, at what point did you decide to do it?
  2. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I do. It's a great name and we are a gigging band. Around here it was about $300.
  3. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Don't remember how much we paid, but the old mail it to yourself or poor man's copywrite doesn't hold water these days. Fill out the paperwork and submit it if you really find it needed. It is a one time fee and then you are assured that it is legal and yours.
  4. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    Make SURE you do your homework and find out the name/domain is not currently in use.
  5. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    ^ Yes, first move is to find out if you actually can claim it as yours.

    Once you determine that, you can slap a TM on it and do nothing else, and it's protected. Perform some type of business transaction using the name and the TM to show date of first use and you're done.

    You could register it, which gives you the option to use the "circle R" symbol, but it's not required to claim ownership. Companies do it to give them a more provable date of first use, among other benefits, but that's when the mark deserves the process. You'll see plenty of marks with only the TM symbol that have never been registered, and there is protection in that.

    If you're going to be huge, it's a good idea, but a bar band? I have never heard of a local bar band registering or even simply TMing a name until now...
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    All the replies about how to do it are missing the point here. The real question is: Why would you want to do it? :meh:

    For a serious professional band, writing, arranging, recording & performing its own original music, yes: absolutely get the band name trademarked (strictly speaking, the term would be "service mark"). But for a covers band, performing in bars? What would be the point?

    It's not as if your band will be generating a great deal of intellectual property that needs to be protected. Right? :eyebrow:

  7. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I agree. It seems pointless for a cover band to do this. Is a trademarked cover band an oxymoron?
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    My brother is an Intellectual Property Attorney and he and I have had many discussions regarding Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents. For a local band, he doesn't see any reason to trademark the name but he doesn't necessarily advise against it either. If two bands had the same name and litigation resulted, two factors a judge would have to decide is whether or not a band knew or should have known that the name was already being used and whether or not the audience would be confused by two bands with the same name or similar names. The example my brother uses is that if a band decided to call themselves "The Stones" and a venue advertised an appearance by "The Stones" an audience might assume that the band which is appearing is The Rolling Stone. Even though The rolling Stones have not trademarked the name "The Stones", the judge would rule in their favor because The Rolling Stones are commonly referred to as The Stones. If the band is known regionally or nationally, there is usually more of a need to trademark the name. You can actually trademark the name yourself through the USPTO website.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    No matter where you are in the world, if you use our band name, I have to come out and kick your ass.

    It's not for me.

    It's for my wife.
  11. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    [emphasis mine]

    A trademark (actually it's probably a Service Mark in this case) is only as strong as your legal team. Are you actually prepared to go to court over the name should the need arise?
  12. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well, this is what I was thinking. I was trying to figure out if there WAS any point for a group like this, something I hadn't thought of. Just seems like flushing money down the toilet.
  13. Not really for a band playing bars if that is your goal, but if you start working with an entertainment agency it goes from just a bunch of guys having fun to a business even a LLC you will be glad you did. Because changing the name of the band after you built your rep. is like changing the name of your business. So forecast ahead is your goal to someday take it to the next level and have a well know agency handle your bookings and have your equipment pay for itself? "Ask yourself would do I really want!"

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