Like any other word or phrase used to identify a particular product or service, a band can register its name as a trademark in the United States. Registering the trademark allows the band to prevent others from using its name for commercial purposes. It also allows the band to license its trademarked name to others, offering them a limited chance to use the name in exchange for a fee. You should register band names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Choose a band name, if you have not done so already. When you file an application to register your trademark, you will have to indicate whether the trademark you want is for text, such as a band name or slogan, or for an image, like a band logo. To trademark your band name as a word, covering its use in any format, trademark it as text; to trademark your band name only as part of a logo, choose image.
Search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database to make sure that the trademark for your band's name doesn't already belong to somebody else. You can search the entire database online using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS. Access TESS through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. If your chosen band name is not registered in the database, you may register it as a legal trademark.
Fill out the initial trademark application form. The form is available either in print format or online at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. If you choose to submit it online, you will use the Trademark Electronic Application System, or TEAS, which you can access through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. The office recommends using TEAS for several reasons, including its verification functions, 24-hour availability and lower filing fees.
Pay the required filing fee. As of 2015, the filing fee is $325 for a regular TEAS application, $275 for a TEAS Reduced Fee application, and $225 for a TEAS Plus application. If you file online, you may pay by debit card, credit card, or electronic check. Otherwise, you must pay by money order or cashier's check made out to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
If you plan to license your trademark or to seek trademark protection internationally, you may want to consider hiring a trademark attorney.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images