Trademark registration helps DJs and bands reap the benefits of their work. With income from copyrights under pressure, and concerts and merchandising generating more and more income, trademark registration is vital. Read on to find out how it works.
Protecting your stage name comes with lots of benefits. Below are four arguments as to why it is important to register your name as a trademark:
Registration gives you an official trademark
A trademark gives you the exclusive right to use that name. That means you have the right to take action against the use of that name, or a similar name, by others. It also helps prevent others, who may not have been operating under that name for as long as you have, from removing your music from Spotify in a complaints procedure for trademark infringement.
Your name is protected against confusingly similar names
Registration protects you against other bands making music under the same or a similar name. After all – you don’t want people to think you’re a metal head, when you´re actually into ska!
A trademark allows you to license your name
It is impossible to license your merchandise if you do not have a trademark. Because license revenues are a major part of the income of bands like U2 and the Rolling Stones, they make sure their brands are protected.
Your name is protected against imitation
And that’s good news! Because counterfeit is a growing problem, even for new bands.
Do you want to registering your stage name, but you still have questions?
Once your trademark is registered, your band or DJ name can be protected under current trademark law. There are three steps in the protection process.
Step 1: Knijff examines whether your stage name is available for registration
The first step in the registration process is the availability check. The more distinctive and original your name, the more likely it will be available for use.We check whether your band name, stage name or DJ name already appears on the trademark registers. If it doesn´t, your name is available for use. The search also includes other registers that contain stage names, as well as popular websites, such as Last.fm and Soundcloud. Knowing where to look is what makes the service of our specialist trademark lawyers invaluable. Not every musician has an availability check done in advance.
The Singles, for instance, didn’t. The band of Scarlett Johansson and Este Haim found out too late that another band was already playing under that same name.The Spice Girls were smart enough to have an availability check carried out – their initial name ‘Spicy Girls’ turned out to be a porn site – hardly appropriate if you are trying to attract a teenage audience!
Step 2: Knijff has your stage name registered
If your stage name is available, you can register it as a trademark for certain products or services. This will give you the exclusive right to your name and help you combat Spotify claims, for instance.It is possible to have your name protected per individual country. For that, you need to know where you want to protect your name. It will help you avoid having to come up with a different name because someone is already using the same name, even if you started using it first. This is not uncommon, unfortunately.
The band ‘Suede’, for example, is called ‘The London Suede’ in America, because there was already a band there called ‘Suede’. Of course Suede weren’t very happy, because they don’t feel like ‘The London Suede’ at all. And boyband One Direction had to settle with punk band One Direction over a claim to the same name. But not every musician has the resources to do so. So it is better to be safe than sorry.Because budget is often key to protecting and registering names, Knijff will help you with smart ways to establish a budget-proof strategy. We are happy to advise you on which protection strategy works best for you.
Step 3: Knijff monitors your stage name to prevent infringement
Once your band name or DJ name is registered, it’s very important that you let Knijff monitor your name to avoid potential infringement. We will keep an eye on newly registered trademarks to see if someone registers a similar name for the same products or services. If this happens, we’ll send you an alert and let you know if you need to take action. Perhaps you won’t object to other bands, but only want to take action against people who want to take advantage of your success.
Deadmau5, for example, wasn’t too happy with Deadmouse, a musical about a mouse wanting to become a DJ. When the musical turned out to be a parody, it was allowed to continue with some disclaimers. As a well-known DJ or band you want some control over these creative expressions, without always taking up arms. All you want to do is stay one step ahead of people with ill intentions. LMFAO failed in that respect, their brand had already been hijacked by a Spaniard. Frustrating, because now it is going to cost them a lot in litigation.
At Knijff, you’re in very good hands, as testified by the many bands and DJs in our client portfolio. Want to know more about protecting names? Then please don’t hesitate to contact our music expert.
In music it is vital to distinguish yourself from thousands of other bands and soloists. Quality of music is key. Your individual sound sets you apart, but your stage name also plays an important role. Because of your name, fans and potential new fans can find your music on Spotify, Apple Music, and so on. In addition, you may decide to carry a distinctive logo, like the Rolling Stones’ tongue. Iconic, and just as recognisable as the name itself.
You can also protect your particular outfits or appearance for merchandising purposes. The painted KISS faces are protected as a trademark, for instance. Other distinctive elements can be equally protected, such as portraits.
Do you want to learn more about registering your stage name or band name?