With the number of legal battles currently being fought in the music industry, having a solid grasp of trademark rights, what a trademark is, and what exactly can be trademarked remains extremely important for any artist working to make sure their intellectual property is safe.
In a recent piece on MusicThinkTank, entertainment and intellectual property lawyer Wallace Collins discusses the variances in trademark's protectability, and how one goes about obtaining superior rights over a trademark in the event that some else tries to use it in the future.
"Just how protectable your trademark is varies depending on whether it is deemed to be: 1) arbitrary and fanciful (the most protectable category); 2) suggestive; 3) descriptive (which is only protectable if “secondary meaning” can be established); or 4) generic (which is given little or no protection). In simple terms, the more unique your name is the more easily protection is available for it as a trademark.That is one reason that some of the strongest trademarks are words that were invented just for the purpose so that they fall into the first “arbitrary and fanciful” category. Such invented names include “Nike”, “Rolex”, “Exxon”, and “Microsoft”. When it comes to rock bands, names such as “Smashing Pumpkins”, “Foo Fighters” and “Brooklyn Funk Essentials” would obviously fall into this distinctive arbitrary and fanciful category."