Why You Should Do a Trademark Search Before Registration

There are a lot of people who want to register trademarks, but few that actually want to do a proper trademark search before filing an application for trademark registration.  Why is this?  Because the searches are expensive!

But here is what most people don’t realize, you can’t just plug your band name into a search engine and figure you’re in the clear when you don’t see another band just like you using the name.  A full, comprehensive, United States search will search all of the following for a band name:

  • All Federal trademark registrations
  • State registrations
  • Top-level domain names
  • Business names
  • A sampling of web search results

A more comprehensive search like this is important because there might be people using the same or similar name you wish to use that are in another part of the country, don’t have a website, or don’t have broad fame but have a really devoted following in their town of 50 people.  A simple search engine might not uncover those conflicting marks, but a comprehensive search will have a much better chance of finding some of these competitors who could potentially hinder the use of your desired band name.  As in life, even a comprehensive search could miss certain potential conflicts, however, the chance of that is much less than searching with a search engine or not searching at all.

The finding of a similar mark allows you to assess whether the similarity is enough to cause problems in the future and possibly alert you to refine or change your band name before fame hits.  It’s much easier to change the name in the beginning instead of later when millions of dollars have been invested into your brand and fans know you by the name you used when you got famous.  Plus, if you register an application for a trademark and there is a conflicting mark that prevents your receiving a federal registration, then you are out the application fee you paid to try to register your mark.  Trademark applications are expensive on their own — imagine if you learn you just wasted hundreds of dollars because you didn’t do your research first!

So while a trademark search is not required before filing an application for trademark registration, it is definitely recommended.  Click here for more information on trademark search services offered by IAR.


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Jacobson, Esq. Erin M.

Erin M. Jacobson is a practicing attorney that represents musicians, songwriters, music publishers, producers, and other music professionals. She is known throughout the music business as "The Music Industry Lawyer" and her clients range from Grammy and Emmy Award winners to independent artists and companies. She works directly with her clients at every career stage and strives to protect her clients and their creative endeavors through deal negotiations and proper intellectual property management. Erin founded Indie Artist Resource to provide protection to independent musicians with barriers to obtaining basic legal and business documents.

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