A trademark or service mark is a word, name, symbol or device used to identify goods or services. That means your band name is your trademark, which identifies your services as an entertainment group and distinguishes you and your services from other groups. Because you will spend anywhere from one to twenty years riding around in a van building up a reputation as a band under your trademark, you should be concerned about protecting that trademark and having your music attributed to your trademark (or band). You should also approve any uses of your trademark by third parties.
In order to adequately protect your trademark, you must consider registering the mark with the federal government, via the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Without this registration, you do have rights in your trademark, but only where the mark is being used. For instance, if you are a band that tours in the Southeast, you have common law protection there. If, however, some other band begins touring in the Northwest under your same name, they will have common law protection there. If the Northeastern band registers its name before you, you may have the right to continue using the name in the Southeast, but you will never be able to go national under the band name you have been building up in the Southeast. What's more is that your fans in the Southeast will probably buy the music of the Northeastern band thinking it is yours.
We can steer your trademark through the registration process. The federal registration process is a little costly. The filing fee is $325 per class. Our attorney fees for registration start at $750 and will be a little more if you decide to register in more than one class or if there is any opposition or if there are any conflicting or competing marks. Further, we generally recommend a thorough search of the name to determine if it is already registered or if it is in use anywhere in the United States, such that someone else has established common law rights in a section of the country. If the same or similar mark is already registered in the same class, you will not be able to register your mark in that class. Search services typically charge between $250 to $400 per mark. Accordingly, for approximately $1500, you can have your band name registered as a trademark. This may seem a little pricey, but if you are serious about achieving success, it will be well worth the expense in the long run.