Protect your Artist or Band Name with a Trademark

How important is your Artist or Band Name to your career as a performance artist? Very important - that's how your fans and other business opportunities find out about your work as a musician and reach you. And if you had to change your name tomorrow? It would be devastating. File a trademark and own your Artist or Band Name!

Trademark your artist or band name

Should I trademark my artist name?

Considering your performances are your livelihood, it would be prudent to ensure that your "Brand" remains yours, and the only way to legally do that is with a trademark filing. Not only does it prevent others from using your trademark without authorization, but it can be a basis for merchandising and sponsorship. In fact, all larger commercial acts have a multitude of trademarks for various classes, which cover not only their musical performances but merchandising as well. Taylor Swift has 57 trademarks that consist of her name or initials - and there are others based on her song or persona.

There are several important reasons why an artist should trademark their artist name:

  1. Exclusive Rights Trademarking an artist name grants the owner exclusive rights to use that name in connection with their artistic works and performances. This prevents others from using the same or a confusingly similar name, which could dilute the artist's brand and reputation.
  2. Brand Recognition and Distinctiveness An artist's name is often their most valuable brand asset. Trademarking the name helps establish and maintain brand recognition, distinctiveness, and goodwill in the marketplace. This can be critical for artists seeking to build a loyal fanbase and stand out in a crowded industry.
  3. Legal Protection A registered trademark provides legal protection against infringement and unauthorized use of the artist's name by others. If someone else attempts to use the trademarked name, the artist can take legal action to stop the infringement and seek damages.
  4. Licensing and Merchandising Opportunities A trademarked artist name opens up opportunities for licensing and merchandising deals, such as clothing lines, accessories, or other branded products. These revenue streams can be valuable for successful artists, and a trademark ensures they have exclusive rights to exploit their name commercially.
  5. Asset Value A trademarked artist name becomes a valuable intellectual property asset that can be bought, sold, or licensed, potentially increasing the artist's overall net worth and providing future financial security.
  6. Domain Name Protection Registering an artist name as a trademark can help secure relevant domain names and prevent cybersquatting, where others register domains containing the artist's name for nefarious purposes or to resell at inflated prices.
  7. Endorsement and Sponsorship Deals Brands and companies are often more willing to enter into endorsement and sponsorship deals with artists who have trademarked their names, as it provides assurance of exclusive rights and brand recognition.

How do I trademark my artist name?

The process is straightforward, you can file in a few minutes answering a few questions on our Artist Trademark Filing Form down below, with a special discount for performance artists like musicians and bands.

Basically, you should finalize the name you will be going with, or are already using. Then, make sure you know of any obvious similarities to existing acts, particularly famous ones. Google is a good resource. Also when you file for a trademark we'll perform a direct hit search to see if your name is free. If there is a logo, that is a separate trademark application from the word mark, and you should ensure that the logo is in its final version before filing.

Trademark an Artist Name

One of the hurdles is when an artist or musician trademark consists of their name. Names are generally prohibited from filing, unless they are well-known, and from the date of registration of your trademark you will have five years to show that your name has become well-known, to permit the mark to register on the Principal Trademark Register. In the meantime, you get provisional protection with the Supplemental Trademark Register. Contact us if you have any questions, as we are the experts in getting names through to registration for your artist's or band's name.

Another issue is when your career takes off - there can be a lot that happens at once. With merchandizing opportunities, the goods and services can be added later, so they do not need to all be named at the outset (and it would be difficult to imagine what products your name would be used with). In fact, naming a number of different classes that have not been used yet, at the first filing, will delay registration of your trademark until you have use of those product classes. 

Trademark Musician Name

Ways musicians can protect their artist names:

  1. Trademark Registration:

    • Register their artist name as a trademark with the appropriate intellectual property office (e.g., the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the US, or equivalent offices in other countries).
    • This provides legal protection against others using the name without permission and helps establish ownership and exclusivity.
  2. Domain Name Registration:

    • Secure relevant domain names containing their artist name (e.g., artistname.com, artistnamemusic.com) for their official website and online presence.
    • This prevents others from registering and using confusingly similar domain names.
  3. Social Media Handles:

    • Claim their desired social media handles and usernames across popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
    • Consistent branding across social media channels is essential for recognition and preventing impersonation.
  4. Copyright Registration:

    • Register their original musical compositions, lyrics, and sound recordings with the appropriate copyright office (e.g., the U.S. Copyright Office) to establish legal ownership and protection.
  5. Monitoring and Enforcement:

    • Regularly monitor for potential infringement or unauthorized use of their artist name, logos, or other intellectual property.
    • Take legal action, such as sending cease-and-desist letters or filing lawsuits, if necessary, to prevent infringement and protect their rights.
  6. Branding Guidelines:

    • Develop clear branding guidelines outlining the appropriate use of their artist name, logos, and other brand assets.
    • Ensure that collaborators, record labels, promoters, and other partners adhere to these guidelines.
  7. Legal Counsel:

    • Consult with intellectual property attorneys or entertainment lawyers who can provide guidance on protecting their artist name and other intellectual property rights.
    • They can assist with trademark registration, copyright protection, and enforcing their rights when necessary.

By taking these proactive steps, musicians can establish legal ownership, prevent unauthorized use, and protect the valuable asset that is their artist name. This safeguards their brand, reputation, and potential revenue streams in the music industry.

Class for Artists and Band Names

Artists and Band Names often are filed in class 41, which includes performances and websites. There may be some other services you offer, and if you sell music as CDs are LPs then an additional class for those products is added (along with the fee for an additional class from the USPTO. If you let us know which goods and services you intend to associate with the brand, we can provide you with a full rundown of how many classes you might expect to need, down the line. But at first, you can file them all in one class, to save money.

Click below to start trademarking your artist or band name.