Why Brands Should File for Federal Trademark Registration?

The United States Constitution guarantees all American citizens the exclusive right to profit from their creative achievements, including musical inventions. The name of your band is protected under US trademark law, which is vital for musical promotion. The most important way to protect your band’s name, a word, symbol, sign, or phrase that uniquely distinguishes your music, is to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO“) in compliance with the Lanham Act.

Before officially registering a band name, you must meet three key qualifying conditions:

You must utilize the band name professionally or intend to use it to differentiate your music from other bands. Your band must include a commercial component, ranging from selling songs on iTunes to performing at a local pub.

  1. The band’s name must be unique enough to warrant trademark protection.
  2. There must be no chance of confusion with a pre-existing trademark.

Types of Intellectual Property For Musicians

Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights are the three principal categories of intellectual property protected under US law. Copyright and trademarks are likely to be the most crucial for artists. The USPTO’s Musicians and Artists Profile give an outline of these distinctions.

A trademark identifies and differentiates the origin of products or services. In the United States, some of the most well-known (and lucrative) trademarked brand names are:

  • The Beatles®
  • Aerosmith®
  • The Doors®
  • Pink Floyd®
  • Queen®
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers®
  • Radiohead®
  • The Rolling Stones®


Original works of art are protected by copyright once converted to a tangible medium. This usually includes your music as well as the artwork for your song. Copyrights in general include:

  • Sound Recordings
  • Musical compositions
  • Artwork
  • Liner notes

Copyrights expire after a specified number of years. Furthermore, in some instances, people may have the right to use minor sections of copyrighted works.

Band logos, in addition to the band’s name, can be protected. Aerosmith’s winged logo and the Queen’s coat of arms are two examples. These pieces of art can be protected by copyright and trademark. Under federal law, each type of registration gives varied protection, but trademark law protects against anybody who creates a possibility of confusion. Trademarks, like copyrights, do not expire.      

Common law trademarks

Even if a brand is not registered, common law trademark rights will arise when usage begins. Common law rights, however, are confined to the geographic region of ongoing use, and you do not have the same amount of protection as a registered trademark proprietor under US law.

How To Apply To Trademark A Band Name?

Conducting a trademark search

A band name must be sufficiently unique from other band names to be registered as a trademark. So, the first step in obtaining trademark rights is to do a trademark search in the USPTO database for relevant trademarks. While words and phrases maybe searched for, not all trademarks are words. Each logo has been coded for search reasons. Each feature of a logo is allocated a category number. We charge $400 for a trademark search.

Filing the application

If a trademark search reveals that your trademark is accessible, you can apply. However, you must include precise details concerning the trademark when filing, such as:

Trademark classes

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recognises 45 trademark classifications. The three most prevalent courses for musicians are:

Types of Trademarks

The more distinctive your band name, the more protection you will have. Trademark strength is classified into five levels:

  • Fanciful (Coined): A band name created to serve as a trademark with no external meaning. Aerosmith® is a fictional trademark.
  • Arbitrary: A band name that has a common meaning but is unrelated to music. This is a common sort of trademark in the music business. Examples of arbitrary band names are The Beatles® and The Doors®.
  • Suggestive: Suggestive markings “suggest” something about your band’s nature innovatively. A suggestive trademark would be Radiohead®.
  • Descriptive: Because they explain some band features, descriptive band names are tough to preserve. “Smart Girl Band” is a descriptive band name.
  • Generic: Because generic names define the band, they cannot be protected. As a result, “Rock Band” could not be registered as a trademark.

If the band name or a similar one is not already in use, creative, random, and provocative are all suitable alternatives for a band name.

Choosing a trademark filing basis – actual use or intent to use

You must pick a filing basis when submitting a trademark application to the USPTO. You can file on an actual use basis if you currently use your band name in commerce. You can file on an intent-to-use basis if you have not yet utilised the band name but intend to do so.

Trademark registration will be allowed only if the band name is already in use. If your band performs, your application should be filed under the “actual use in commerce” category.

If you’re creating songs, rehearsing, and planning live events, you probably have good faith in using the trademark and should file on an intent-to-use basis. To demonstrate your intent to utilise, you should document it in some form, just in case your intent is subsequently contested.

How much does it cost to trademark a band name?

Our professional cost is $950 to file a trademark application for a band name and undertake basic follow-up until it registers. The filing cost with the government is $250 per class of goods or services included in the application. So, if you register under Class 09 for musical records, Class 025 for clothing, and Class 41 for entertainment services, your total government filing expenses will be $750.

How long does it take to trademark a band name?

Although the USPTO does not disclose specific processing times, you should expect an examining attorney to consider your application four months after filing. The processing period varies based on your filing basis and whether or not the application was filed appropriately. To file an intent to use the application, you must eventually file a statement demonstrating that you are using the trademark in commerce. A trademark normally registers around 8-10 months after it is filed.