Do I Need a Trademark?

Trademarks protect the source of the idea.  In your day to day life, whether you are drinking a Coke or going to Disney, you are surrounded by trademarks.  As an artist, you see it more commonly in regards to names.  For example, there is only one Drake, only one Eminem, and only one Lil Wayne.  Protecting your name, or brand, as an artist could make all of the difference when it comes to your exposure and familiarity.  A lot goes into trademarking a name, and if you are not comfortable doing it yourself, I always recommend hiring an attorney to do it for you.

As an independent artist, you are going to have many questions throughout your career. Issues with copyright, trademark, royalties, and more are all topics that my clients have discussed with me. So the question becomes, what do you really need? Early on in your music career, money can be a sensitive topic unless you have investors. Spending money frivolously on attorney’s fees or legal costs probably is not at the top of your to-do list. However, at the end of the day having a trademark is what will protect all of your hard work that lead up to that point. Without a Trademark, or knowing you have the ability to claim “first use,” you could get a year or two into your career only to realize that you have to change your name, and in essence your entire brand. My goal here is to explain who needs a Trademark and why, but in the end it is fully up to you if you choose to Trademark your brand or not.

Looking at artists specifically, how many Drakes, Logics, of Big Seans are there? Only one. This is because their name, or brand, is protected by Trademark law. Without this protection,

If I still have your attention, I want to have you visualize something.  Imagine we are not talking about you and your music career.  Imagine instead, that we are talking about your best friend who has an incredible idea to start a new business.  They have a product, they have a shop set up, a website, they even have employees ready to go, and they think  they have everything in order.  There has, however, been a Trademark question looming over them.  What if this company does not make it, will the trademark process be worth it?  The question they should be asking is, what if it does take off?  As a friend, you would want them to protect themselves and their great business idea any way they legally could.  So after reading this article, if you are still not sure, think of what you would tell that friend with the great business idea.

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