Brand name recognition is so important for businesses selling their products and services. For musicians and performers, you may have a stage name; this is what holds your brand and your identity! You want to protect yourself from other artists using the same or similar name; they could be riding your coat tails or giving you bad press! This article considers reasons to trademark a stage name and gives suggestions for choosing a stage name that can be trademarked.
Two big reasons: reputation and certainty.
The name you use is part of your identity and your reputation. Your work and your performances go towards building up your name. Trademarking gives you the exclusive right to use the name, and you can stop others from using the same stage name or similar names.
If you don’t protect your stage name, someone else can come along with the same or a similar protected name, and stop you from using your name. The name that you had carefully chosen is an expression of your musicianship and identity.
After all your work of choosing your stage name and your performances, having to change names will bring you right back to the beginning!
Choosing a name that can be trademarked
If you don’t already have a stage name, here are some tips for what to consider when choosing name.
Using a made up word or words that are not usually associated with music or performance is a good way to protect yourself. It means other performers are less likely to use the same name and you are more likely to be able to protect the name.
IP Australia is unlikely to approve a trademark that uses a word commonly associated with your type of work, as it would then unfairly stop others from using that word.
Look at existing names
Do your research! You don’t want to waste your time coming up with an ‘original’ stage name only to find out that there are other artists out there already using it!
You can do a general internet search, or do a trademark search through IP Australia to see what names are already taken. Using a stage name that is similar to a trademark may be infringement. Also note that if names are not trademarked, they may still be an obstacle to your trademark registration so it is best to avoid similarity.
You may need to get some help from a trademarking lawyer to give advice as to whether your name could be infringing on existing trademarks and whether it is likely to be approved by IP Australia.
Whether you already have a stage name or you are brainstorming names, remember that your name holds your reputation, and it should be protected, just as any other brand name.
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