Can we protect our name?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by lewis, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. lewis

    lewis Member

    We have discovered in the last couple of weeks that a quintet has chosen the same name as our band, we have approached them nicely and asked then to reconsider their name as they haven't done any engagements yet, and we've had the name for nearly five years now, but they have said no. For various reasons we'd really like it if we didn't share our name with another ensemble.

    Has anybody got any advice for me please?
     
  2. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Found this whilst browsing

    Source URL Band Name Copyrighting
     
  3. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    If you have a written constitution , written records , accounts etc. this should be enough evidence to get another group or change there name , In my own experience I set up a quintet with a constitution , gota lot of music written an arranged , opened an account under the name "Castle Brass" and did a few engagments when I found out there was another Castle Brass quintet operating , I changed the name as this group had been going a few months before we got started , no biggie really.
     
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I see they're giving a concert on the 16th of this month, so there's not much time!

    I think this is one of those shady areas where there is no formal, legal protection without having registered the name, etc. I know Charley Brighton (Highams) changed the name of his low brass quartet following an approach from another group with the same, or similar, name, and the "English Brass Ensemble" started off as the "Albany Brass Ensemble", which was a bit too close to the "Albion Ensemble", a wind quintet.

    The new quintet say on their website that they formed in December, but you don't say at what stage you became aware of the potential conflict. I should have thought you had a strong case for having established a precedent, although a Google-search reveals that the first two entries are for an "Alliance Brass" formed in New Orleans in 1889 :eek: ;) :oops:
     
  5. lewis

    lewis Member

    The Alliance Brass is america is Alliance Brass Band and is, from what we can gather becasue we researched our name when we started, no longer together. We saw the website about a month ago and after to talking to some people who have changed their names becasue they had been approached by other ensembles. They simply changed their name because they hadn't been formed that long, but after approaching this group they flat out refused to change their name.

    Thanks for the link on trademarks but i think as they now have a website the fact that we have been around longer doesn't mean anything. Might look into the fact that we have been contesting and doing concerts for five years and have a bank account might make a difference.

    We are really dissappointed they are refusing to change their name. We would never had chisen our name if we thought there was another group with the same name, I don't understand why any group would want that? More annoyingly is some of the guys in the band have just setup a quintet to do education projects under the Alliance Brass Quintet. We are also trying to gain charitable status at the minute and, although I'm sure it won't affect us, we just don't want another gtoup using our name :-(
     
  6. lewis

    lewis Member

    Like i said the few people i have spoken to in this situation have been able to resolve it amicably. And those are even the same, just similar.
     
  7. lewis

    lewis Member

    That's what we thought they would do, but no luck there.
     
  8. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    Arguably you might be able to contend that the other group is passing itself off as your group and thereby creating confusion in the eye of the consumer, (i.e. the listener), and depriving you of business.

    The law of passing off is rather complicated and geared up more to trading businesses but there is no reason why you could not argue it in relation to a musical group.

    Have a look here:

    http://www.intellectual-property.gov.uk/std/resources/other_ip_rights/passing_off.htm

    Whilst bearing in mind the Ibstock/ Area Committee debacle and the fact that legal advice is far from cheap, the only way you can be sure of your rights is to seek advice. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau wouldn't really be on top of the law relating to passing off and so a solicitor would be the best bet.

    I'm certainly in no position to advise you and what I have mentioned above is something for you to bear in mind. In no way am I saying that you have a valid claim on the basis the other group are passing themselves off as your band. I do not know the full facts. If in doubt, seek advice.

    Hope the above helps.

    Igg
     
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    At least if they turn up at registration in Stevenage the french horn should be a bit of a giveaway ;)
     
  10. lewis

    lewis Member

    Thanks Igg,

    but that seems to centre around the fact that you have reistered your trademark. Looks like I am going to just let this one go.

    Thanks for everyones advice, it does seem that unless I can get them to agree to change their name (which evidently they won't) there is legally nothing i can do here. I can't register it as a trademark if another ensemble already has the same name and I can't take legal action without being registered as a trademark.

    Apaarently one of the trumpet players used to play for Whitburn so if anybody knows them give them some grief because I have to say this seems very unfair!

    Thanks again.
     
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  12. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Under US law (I believe that UK law is similar), you may still be entitled to claim a trademark, even if it has not been registered. However, it is a prima facie case if the registration has been done.

    The fact that the other group has a website means virtually nothing, because the domain registrars do not check trademark violations when a name is registered. There are many cases of trademark-infringing domain names that have been litigated successfully by the trademark owner (one of the most famous was a site name "amazom.com", which was an attempt to cash in on "amazon.com". I presume that you have been using the name "in trade" for at least five years - this would give you a pretty good claim, unless the other group has registered the mark.

    I suggest that you consult with an intellectual property law firm.
     
  13. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Perhaps your brass band can get a sponsor and a load of money to change it's name ;)

    Actually, I think if you follow the advice above, things will sort themselves out, albeit it still may be a right pain to go through all the proceedings.
     
  14. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    On the contrary Lewis, passing off doesn't require you to have registered your name as a trademark. There are separate provisions in the statutes which govern trademarks for impingement of that separate protected right.

    It is a fall back which many smaller businesses rely upon when they realise (a) they forgot to register their name as a trademark, or (b) didn't want to go to the expense of registering as a trademark.

    Igg
     

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