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Trademark Registration – Band Names (2)

Facts: There are usually several members of a rock band or similar performing group. They may have a manager. Someone thinks of a name. It is a good name. They become famous. Then……they split up and the fun begins. Who owns the name? In fact, we have had this very case recently. The lead singer of a very famous band, lets call it Cool Daddy, had left the band some years ago but wanted to stop the remainder of the band continuing to use use his name. He also wanted to take part in a retro-concert and perform under his old name even though it was still being used by the old band. A rock band is usually a legal partnership – in other words a group of people in the music business working together to make a profit. The name is a partnership asset and is owned by the partnership. When the partnership splits up, in principle, no-one has a right to the name unless they buy it. However, the person that has registered the name as a registered trademark is in pole position when it comes to the argument.
Moral:  All band names should be protected by trademark registration and agreed to be partnership assets and there should be an agreement that the band name is held in trust for the partnership. There should also be a partnership agreement that sets out what is to happen if there is a split and one or more of the members of the group decide to, er …go their own way (no pun intended!).



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