So the first thing you want to do is trademark your “stage” name right? Not so fast! Hold your horses there Grandmaster B! What you need isn’t a trademark. You need a service mark! A trademark and a service mark are two different things.
We’ve explained what a trademark is so what is a service mark? The United States Patent and Trade Office defines a service mark as: “a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. They go on to say: The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
That’s true. So “Paperkrow” you ask, “Why have you taken the time to separate trademark from service mark on this glorious blog?” Why children? Because we love you. You see, this is not the average service, and we are not the average company. We want to make sure you understand things as well as we do and we want to penetrate your circle of trust. Yes, trademark can be used as a general term that covers both trademarks and service marks. But we feel you should know the difference anyway. Trademarks are for goods, like Nike shoes. Service marks are for services, like you rapping on stage.
But enough about that! “Why do I need a service mark?” you ask. Well, for many of you, a registered service mark will be one of the most important things you possess as an artist.
You want to protect and own your rap name don’t you Parrapa? Of course you do!
Then, you need a service mark!
Why is it so important that you register your name? Because you don’t want anyone to grab it. You put a lot of work into coming up with you name, and it is your brand and identity. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, your brand is very important. Don’t just take our word for it. Ask a few famous people in hip-hop how crucial owning the rights to your rap name can be. Platinum star and uber talented artist Soulja Boy can tell ‘em a thing or two about it. The world renowned DJ Drama is also familiar.
Now, if you think it’s not going to matter because you’re going to be the bigger star in the end, you should know that the one who’s made the name most famous doesn’t automatically win. Take the guys we mentioned before for example, both Soulja Boy and DJ Drama were forced to change their hard earned names by individuals that you’ve probably never heard of.
It also won’t matter that your name is slightly different. Even different names that are the slightest bit close to one another can cause legal action. Take the reigning skinny jeans champions The New Boyz for example. They were sued by a gospel group called the Newsboys who make good music but don’t have a tremendously similar name and don’t even fall under the same genre.
All the above information regarding protecting your stage name should be a wake-up call! You don’t just need to do it. You need to do it now!
Who better to do it than somebody who’s done it? That’s right: Paperkrow. We’re serious. You need this done. We can protect your rap-name or any other kind of artist name today and make sure nobody else will ever be called “you” again.
For anything else you’d like to know about service marks We’re here:
Paperkrow is a graduate of the American University School of Law in Washington, DC and music industry consultant.
I have a long relationship with music across a variety of genres, stemming from my first experiences in a Grammy Award winning youth choir. As I grew older my interest in music grew with me and I continued on into hip-hop on both the writing and production sides. I am a member of a production team that was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008 for a song produced for Ludacris & TI. I have also written with major mainstream hip-hop artists.
My experience stems not only from the music industry but also the study of law. I studied sports and entertainment law under the wing of experienced veterans in those fields en route to obtaining my doctorate degree.
Disclaimer: Paperkrow provides only consulting and paperwork. These services are not to be construed as or mistaken for legal services. Further, the contents of this blog and the @paperkrow twitter account reflect only opinions and do not constitute legal advice. All words and ideas expressed on this site are the sole intellectual property of the owner and subject to copyright and as such may not be used elsewhere for any purpose without express authorization.