Can I Trademark a Stage Name?

Yes, you can trademark a stage name that you use to promote or sell your products or services, which is most typically used by musical artists but can also include entertainment acts like clowns, dancing, magicians, etc. Regardless of whether you're a solo artist or a member of a band/group, you will be able to trademark your stage name, subject to a few rules...

This information was provided by our founding attorney, Xavier Morales, Esq. 

Why You Should Trademark Your Stage Name

Once you start performing under your stage name, it's important to understand that your stage name does not automatically get trademark protection; you have to apply for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It's also not mandatory to trademark your stage name, however, it is highly recommended for professional musicians and those providing entertainment services.

Protecting your stage name with a trademark will prevent any competitors such as another artist or act from using the same name, or potentially even a similar name. It will also give you the right to shut anyone down who tries to impersonate you or use your trademarked stage name. It will protect your name from being tarnished, which can be a lengthy and costly pursuit if you're not already protected.
Trademark a stage name

Trademark vs Copyright

Understanding the difference between trademarks and copyright protections is crucial for a musical artist. Just because you trademark your stage name does not mean that your music copyright will be covered by that trademark too. However, as soon as you write a song and it's evidently written down or recorded, you (as the owner) automatically have a copyright to that song. This means that you choose how it gets reproduced, distributed, or performed, and people will need permission to use it on television and radio.

However, you can still protect your song and music further by registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. This will make a public record of your claim and make it simpler to enforce your rights should you need to in the future.

How to Trademark Your Stage Name

There are several steps to trademarking your stage name. You will need to check that no other artist is using that name or a similar one. You can find this out by doing a simple Google search, but you will also need to do a search using a trademark database. This will show both existing registered trademarks and also pending applications.

You will then need to file for your online application by filling in a trademark application form which will require information such as evidence of how the trademark name is being used and in which industry. You'll also need to confirm ownership of the mark, which is important if you're in a band or group entertainment act, and you'll also need to specify which field class category your trademark will cover, which can be incredibly detailed. For example, music covers "music concerts", "music publishing and music recording services", "musical entertainment", "musical instruction", "musical performances" etc.

You will need to pay a filing fee for your application. Your trademark application could be approved in as little as a few months or over a year, depending on the complexity of the mark and the thoroughness of your application. Your trademark will last 10 years. If at the end of that time, you're still performing under the stage name, you will need to apply for a trademark again.

Applying for a stage name trademark is a very important task. It will prevent any competitors using the same or similar name, will protect your reputation and will also be very important should you go on to become successful under your stage name.

To protect your career and mark in the music industry, having an experienced trademark attorney perform a trademark search is a wise decision. They can guide you through the complexities of trademark classes and the filing process, ensuring that your desired name is attainable and that your trademark application aligns with all requirements for trademark protection and that there is no issue.

Common Trademark Topics for Musicians

The Trademarking Process

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Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded his trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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