Trademark Law

Fewer Good Band Names Available, Causing Trademark Rifts

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There aren’t many good band names left, according to Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.

He told the Wall Street Journal about the difficulties he had finding a name for his new band. An online search showed at least seven other bands had the name of his first choice—Caligula. His group finally named itself Them Crooked Vultures.

“Every other name is taken,” Jones said. “Think of a great band name and Google it, and you’ll find a French-Canadian jam band with a MySpace page.”

A database maintained by the Rovi Corp. has about 1.4 million artist names, and the shortage of names not taken is creating trademark disputes, the Wall Street Journal says. Trademark disputes usually hinge on which band first used a name commercially and where—and the proof can be a simple as a band’s MySpace page.

One band named Discovery has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a rival Discovery band. A country band registered the name Jane Deere with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but backed down when John Deere protested. The band settled on the name the JaneDear girls after learning that the Janes, the Dear Janes, and the Dears were already in use. The band Captain America changed its name to Eugenius after getting a cease-and-desist letter from the comic book publisher.

If you are forming a new band, you can forget about these names, the most popular in Rovi’s files: Bliss, Mirage, One, Gemini, Legacy, Paradox and Rain.

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