So someone claimed our band name - AGAIN

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Digitalman, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. Digitalman

    Digitalman Member

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    Hi guys,

    I could use some input and expertise here.

    A friend and I started a casual, long distance project a few years back. We dropboxed files back and forth and wrote some songs and gave the project the name 'Alcoves'.

    Well we continued and became a bit more serious about it. We are both older family guys who have been in multiple bands over the years. I researched the net and found that there were already a couple bands called Alcoves. So, fair enough...we decided to change our name. We finally decided on a new name, that absolutely no one had claimed. Once we decided on the new name, I immediately set up a Facebook page, Soundcloud page, Bandcamp page and Soundclick page. We also purchased the .com domain with our band name with 'band' and 'music' at the end. Just so this would not happen to us again.

    Well, it has. We set up these pages and domains in May of 2013, and since then a band in the UK and a band in Germany has taken our name. They apparently are both on labels and one has a release. We are finishing up our album, we have label interest but are not signed yet and haven't released anything yet.

    I have contacted both of them and told them that the name is taken. The one in the UK has responded and has refused to change his name. How do you handle this kind of thing these days? Fight it? Or ignore it? Pretty much every damn band name has been taken at this point.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    It's a legal matter. Get a lawyer, figure out if it's worth the money.
     
  3. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Did you trademark the name? Did they? If it's that important to you I would look into the trademark process - a couple of hundred bucks and a few months and paperwork but not impossible.
    Who has the better domain name?
     
  4. treeofpain

    treeofpain Supporting Member

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    You could contact an attorney if it is worth it to you. If you have a trademark for the name (and I am not sure if you need a separate international trademark), then you certainly have a case, but are you willing to spend the time, money, and aggravation enforcing it?
     
  5. fyler

    fyler Member

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    it's not worth fighting unless one of the other bands has money to throw around & will buy out your claim to the name (this actually happened to some friends).
    my vote would be to come up with a better name and move on.









    (i'm reminded of the scene in This Is Spinal Tap, where they're talking about their early days & they say they were 'the Originals'...until they found out there was another band called the Originals, so they became the 'New Originals' :D )
     
  6. RLD

    RLD Member

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    What do you mean by...
    and...
    What steps did you take to make those statements legally binding?
     
  7. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    You also need to be honest with yourself to determine if any of this really matters. Is the band (yours) generating any income, etc... yet? I don't think you need to change your band name at all. I would just ride it out and then they can try to force you into changing your name if you make it big. Or your backing record company will just buy them out.
    And again, if they didn't trademark the name they don't have sh*t.
     
  8. ledzep618

    ledzep618 Supporting Member

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    Did you put an international trademark on the name? Because if not.....then you should totally stop whining, as you don't own something just because you made a Facebook page. If you did trademark it, then your lawyer should send them a kindly worded cease and desist letter.
     
  9. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

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    How do I browse the official international band name registry?
     
  10. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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    "we called ourselves 'The Originals' until we found out there was another band called 'The Originals' so we changed our name to 'The New Originals'".
     
  11. PTS

    PTS Member

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    Change your name to 'Various Artists' just to screw with iPod users.
     
  12. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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    "Free Beer Tonight Only"
     
  13. Digitalman

    Digitalman Member

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    I'm kind of with you here Gasp, and no, I didn't 'trade mark' the name. And who said I was whining?

    I set up those pages to give us an internet presence. If I googled the band name I wanted to use, and they already existed on Facebook, Bandcamp, Etc, I'd have the courtesy to kindly move on and find something else - which I already have. But these guys apparently don't care that we've already established a footprint. I've been in enough bands to know that by the time our record is out and we're gigging here in the US, they'll probably have disbanded anyway. We aren't planning to throw money at it, I think maybe sticking with it, blowing it off and see who gets big first is the best thing to do.

    This has happened with bands before - The Mission UK and The Chameleons UK, etc. Just wondering how it's generally handled. I'm not so pissy about it that I'm above changing our name again, I'm just looking for some feedback. So, thanks.

    A couple of my favorite bands - Weekend and Viet Cong, have impossible names to trademark anyway.
     
  14. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    "I made a post that I thought was original but is actually just a few posts above mine, so my post is now the new original post about the new originals."
     
  15. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't think you are whining. I think you have great points but unfortunately grabbing domain names, etc... is not enough. That might actually be a good thing too, many groups disappear shortly after grabbing names/internet presence, etc...
     
  16. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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    I missed it :bonk
     
  17. stevel

    stevel Member

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    The Shadows were originally called "The Drifters", and while popular in the UK, when the group started to look like they were on the path to success, it became clear they should change their name to avoid confusion with the already popular American group of the same name. It didn't hurt that they understood the American market was a huge one and the American Drifters had the upper hand in terms of renown.

    I had a band locally we named after a phrase in the Donovan Song, "Mellow Yellow".

    I googled it and found that there were no exact matches and the only reference I could find to it as I wanted it was from a band in Vietnam in the late 60s who released a couple of (horrible) garage rock singles (maybe only one) under that name, and would almost immediately change the name. They then never performed under that name again nor are to my knowledge planning to.

    But, of all things, it turns out the person who started that band was actually a local guy! Not only that, he's still living and lives in the area. As a courtesy, I contacted him and let him know that I had stumbled on the name in a completely unrelated manner (because, really, no one ever heard of the original band - as far from a household name as you can get) but he said we couldn't use it, his brother in law is Ralph Lauren, or Pierre Cardin, or someone like that, and blah blah blah. Trust me, we we far better than that old band ever was, so we weren't exactly "using the name for recognition". There were a few people around town who remembered them, but that's about it.

    At any rate, it wasn't worth the hassle. Him just bad mouthing us around town wasn't worth the effort. Besides, I want him to leave this Earth in the obscurity he deserved - I wasn't about to give his old crappy band any free advertising.

    So we changed it.

    Gasp101 is right on - I wouldn't worry about a band in Germany. You're in Florida? I wouldn't worry about a band with the same name in Idaho. Heck, I'd go as close a Georgia.

    Unless your markets overlap, it's no big deal. In fact, there's another band (a Dance band) with the same name as a band I'm in now (or it's relatively similar) somewhere else in the country and a client had visited our website and called us and it became clear into the conversation that we weren't the same band.

    So it could happen. But honestly, unless one of those other bands reaches "name recognition" level in the states, I'd keep it.

    I certainly don't go home after I see a band in a club and google their name to see if anyone else has it. If their name was Chevelle, then that would be a problem. The Alcoves is definitely not a name I've heard. I don't travel in every musical circle possible, but I think you're OK.

    Besides, as Gasp101 said, you have to be realistic - those bands might break up in a week, or year. Your band may. Do they have major label backing? What about you?

    The fact that you have all the domains and such is great, but there's no reason they can't us "Thealcovesband.com" or other such variations. Only Trademark protection would win you out there.

    Where it would be an issue is, if you look on iTunes and they're selling enough to take notice, have label backing and a legal team, and them you guys start trying to post stuff at places like that. That will be tougher.

    It all has to do with how visible they are, and even if you "had it first", it may not look so good on you if you appear to be the "copycat" - even if the law was in your favor.
     
  18. RRfireblade

    RRfireblade Member

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    If no one has established legal international claim to that the name, then the one that becomes the most famous first, wins.

    Other than that, if they won't change thiers then either change yours, the spelling, or add something to it or ......worry about it when you all are fighting to book the same stadium arena.
     
  19. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I was looking into getting my band name trademarked and there is an official database to search against (TESS). I automatically assumed the name itself would definitely have been TM'd by another musician / group. I came to find many instances but they are all abandoned or "dead" as they put it on the database. So technically, I could probably TM this stuff. But, if I add -band to it (which is what I had to do for our domain, email, facebook) nothing trademarked.
    Again after a cursory look it seems TM costs about $375 online, take months and there is no guarantee your application will not be refused for some reason - also NO REFUND.
     
  20. Fuzzdog

    Fuzzdog Member

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    Spookily, a friend's band back in the early 90's was called the Alcoves. Hadn't thought about them for years until I read that. :D
     

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