The Importance of Trademarking Your Artist or Band Name


     The music scene is crowded with talent, making it essential for artists to differentiate themselves in every way possible. The most apparent and effective way to do this is through a distinct and recognizable stage name. However, a challenge arises when other musicians share your name or a similar one.

Duplicating artist names can lead to many problems, including difficulty with music searches and various legal issues that may arise. Word to the wise... get ahead of any potential issues and register your trademarks! Trademarks protect your intellectual property, ie your logos, slogans and names. (They are similar to copyrights, except for the glaring detail that you are not automatically granted a free trademark upon creation like you are with copyright.) Registering your artist or band name as a trademark ensures that you do not need to change your name in the future. Additionally, it protects you from legal actions or lawsuits if someone else already used your name before. Secure your brand name with a trademark so that you can focus on making great music!

So, how do you go about obtaining ownership of your trademark in order to make sure that you've covered for the long game? Good thing you have us on your team! We're here to walk you through the process, step by step. 

How To Trademark Your Artist or Band Name

     Trademarking takes a bit of additional legwork as it's not immediately granted to you, as the creator, like copyrights are. Trademarks are not mandatory, but they are super important, if only to protect yourself in a legal sense. How horrible would it be to put in so much sweat equity in your career, only to realize that another, more popular artist, has copied your name and is off to the races! Okay, have we put the fear of God in you yet? Here's how to go about trademarking your name. 

Step One: Google It! 

    This step is straightforward. Just like when you start a business, you need to make sure that no one else has claimed your intended name before you have. For example, there are rules to this sh*t! Names like "Katy Fairy" and "Fled Zeppelin" are deemed 'confusingly similar' and are therefore ineligible for use. They sound too much like the popular artists they are mimicking and might cause consumers to accidentally download the wrong track due to simple human error. The easiest way to check is to simply Google it! Boom. 

Step Two: USPTO Database Search

     Okay, now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. You can use this website to look for both registered trademarks and cases where a trademark application is pending.

     From the homepage, click "Trademarks". Then click on "Searching Trademarks". Next, click "Basic Word Mark Search (New User)". Once you are on the search page you can go to town! Search for whatever you want. Hopefully, the trademark of your dreams still exists. Prayers up for you. 

Here's a hot tip... be sure to include common misspellings and similar names. These might fall under the 'confusingly similar' idea listed above. 

Step Three: Find Your Class Description 

     When applying for a trademark, it's crucial to select the right category or class that will accurately cover your product or service. With so many classifications to choose from, it can be overwhelming. However, if you're a musician, the most relevant categories will likely be those dealing with recorded music and live or public music performances.

To ensure you select the correct category, take the time to search for the most accurate description of your product or service using the following link:

     Keep in mind, when searching for something as broad as "music," there may be up to 181 related descriptions to sift through. Take your time with the process! This is an important step not to rush though as the more diligent you are with this step, the higher your chances of your trademark being approved and protected. 

Step Four: File Your Online Trademark Application 

     First, go to the USPTO website. From the "Trademarks" dropdown menu, select "Filing Online". Then you will want to click on "Initial Application Forms".

There are two different application options available. Whichever one you choose is a personal decision, we can't make that choice for you! 

Regardless which way you decide to go, this is the information you'll need to have on hand when applying: 

• Ownership Info:  Who owns the trademark? If you are a single artist, this will be you, unless you have another situation in place. 

• Evidence of Use:  If you're already using the proposed trademark, you can provide that here. For example, a band logo or branded merch. 

• Correspondence Info:  This simply refers to who the Trademark folks can speak with if they have any issues in processing your application. 

• Class Description/Field Catagory:  Refer to step 3. 

• Standard or Specific Character Description: This refers to how your artist or band name is formatted. If you use any special characters in your name (such as $, ! or ( )), you can explain those here. 

Step 5: Submit and Wait! 

    Now for the fun part. Trademark applications can take anywhere between four months to a year to process. So sit tight! Trademarks are different to copyrights in the sense that they do have an expiration date. They will last you around ten years, in the US. You're Gucci for a while! 

If You Need Help...

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is always available to help you. The process can easily get overwhelming, so don't be afraid to ask for help! It might also be a smart idea to enroll the help of a music lawyer or a manager. Don't be shy! You are better off playing it safe rather than being sorry in the long run. Good luck with the process! 



Have you been searching for someone to help you with marketing your song? You’ve come to the right place! Organic Music Marketing offers a wide range of marketing and promotion services for your next song release including packages for Spotify, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and more! Click for more information.

Reading next

AMP Agency Jobs: Collaborating with Organic Music Marketing for a Winning Team
Most Loved Zodiac Sign

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.