4 Key Considerations When Registering a Trade Mark as a Musician
Your band’s name establishes your brand and defines your music. You should register your name as a trade mark to prohibit others from using it for any reason, especially on merchandise or musical instruments. Technically, you can claim ownership of your band name without registering it. However, if you do not register your band name, taking legal action against those who use the name is more complicated. You can prevent others from using your band name without your permission if you register a trade mark of it.
If you are a musician or sell musical instruments and equipment, the logo, name, or sounds associated with your band are important. This article will explore four key considerations when you want to protect your trade mark as a musician.
1. Review Similar Trade Marks
To conduct a trade mark search, go to IP Australia’s website. Before you can trade mark your band name, you must first ensure that no one else has already done so. Enter your band’s name in the search field. If the name you choose is not already taken, it is likely you can register it.
Decide whether you will submit a trade mark for your band’s name in standard character format (the name itself) or in composite/ stylised format (the name written in a specific style or typeface). Use the e-filing system to complete the application online. To avoid errors and omissions that slow down the process, follow the recommendations of IP Australia and proofread your application. You must pay your application filing fees at the time of making your application.
Be advised that IP Australia will ask you to meet the filing criteria before accepting your trade mark application.
2. Decide Who Owns the Trade Mark
Determine who will be the owner of the trade mark. Because a band name is so valuable, all members of the band should share it. Consider creating a corporation with the band members as directors or forming a partnership. There are numerous advantages to forming a corporation, particularly in preventing disputes through the use of various ownership agreements. This ensures that each band member has established rights to the name and outlines how they can abandon those rights if they depart. If you create a corporation, you must list that entity as the trade mark owner when filing with IP Australia.
3. Choose the Right Trade Mark Classification
Make a detailed identification of the class that your trade mark will cover. For example, when you register a trade mark for your band name or logo, you can only protect it in certain classifications, such as class 15 under musical instruments. Class 15 also includes musical boxes, electrical and electronic musical instruments and mechanical pianos and their accessories. Be sure to search the classification picklist to determine what class your goods fall under.
There are several classes musicians should protect their band name under. Musicians should safeguard their band name in four areas:
- live entertainment;
- recorded music;
- apparel with the band’s name on it; and
- printed things such as posters and programmes.
The filing cost covers one class, and adding additional classes is more expensive. Therefore, ensure you only select the classes you need to protect your band name.
4. Use the ™ Symbol While You Wait for Registration
Getting a trade mark can take a long time. Three months after submitting your application, check on its status. You can use the reference number you receive when you file your application to track the progress.
You can use the trade mark symbol ™ to signify that your band owns the name, but you will not be able to use the trade mark symbol ® until you get authorisation from IP Australia. Using the ® and the ™ symbols are great ways to notify the public that your trade mark is either registered or nearing registration, respectively. In addition, it signals that you care about your brand.
When deciding whether you will register a trade mark as a musician, you should consider:
- whether other people have registered the same or a similar trade mark as your band name;
- who owns the trade mark;
- whether you have chosen the correct trade mark class; and
- using the ™ symbol until you receive full registration.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use IP Australia’s picklist to search for your intended trade mark. The picklist will then give you a list of possible trade mark classes you can use in your application.
You can start a company by registering one with ASIC. However, it is advisable to talk to a lawyer about this, because there are many things to consider before you do.