Surely your band name is not taken
Before registering your band name, make sure it is available. There are several websites, such as Bandname.com or BandNameProtection.org, that allow you to search both national and international band name registers to see if another band already has your band name trademarked. Although these are good places to start, you should also search the U.S. Patent Office’s trademark electronic search system, which is the last word, at least within the United States, about whether or not a band name is taken.
Common law Trademark
If you have performed or recorded under your band name, you may already have ‘regular team’ rights to the name within your region. This would prevent other bands from using the same name commercially within the same region. If a band from another region with a common right to the same name wanted to go citizens under that name, they would first need to get permission or buy your regular rights from your band. The downside to this is that if your band
Protection and preventive measures
For a small band, a common team brand may be all you need. But it is best to take the necessary steps to come up with a name that is unique to your band and to have that name legally trademarked, so that no one can use it without your consent.
On the above mentioned websites, you can also add your band name to the respective register. To obtain full legal protection, including the right to sue for trademark infringement, you must register your band name with the U.S. Patent Office and trademarks.
It sounds simple enough. But according to the law firm Alan Korn in the music industry, an original name is not enough. To be eligible for a federal trademark, you must be able to prove that you have used the name commercially, in more than one state. This may sound difficult, but if your band has sold any CDs or MP3s under your band name, or even simply announced a performance or tour that covered more than one license, you’ll cover again. If you have advertised or sold items only within your own country, do not despair — you will still be eligible for a state-level trademark.
If you have decided on the perfect name but have not done anything about it, you can also reserve a federal trademark by filing an ‘Intent to Use’ registration with the Patent Office. This grabs the name while building commercial evidence that it should belong to your band.
The bad news is the cost. At $ 325 for an initial registration request (plus an additional $ 100 for Intent To Use requests), you definitely want to make sure your band name is a goalie before you have that trademark. If so, then the cost of the brand was low compared to the benefits of knowing that your band name legally belongs to you. Registering your band name can be a daunting prospect. However, it is necessary, especially for bands that make it out of the garage and onto the stage or into the recording studio. The good news is, it’s not that difficult, and you do not even need a boss to get it done.