DEAR ARTISTE: WHY YOU SHOULD TRADEMARK YOUR “STAGE NAME”

DEAR ARTISTE: WHY YOU SHOULD TRADEMARK YOUR “STAGE NAME”

 

In most cases, a performing or recording artiste shall elect to use a stage name rather than his/her legal name (or government name as called in some quarters).   A stage name, also called a screen name, is a pseudonym  used by performers and entertainers.  An artiste will often take a stage name because his/her real name is considered unattractive, dull,  difficult to pronounce or, in other cases, it simply projects an undesired image. Sometimes a performer adopts a name that is unusual or outlandish solely  to attract attention or just to retain anonymity.

It is no news  that there is more to music, than recording and performing songs. There is the business aspect that is equally as important  as recording and performing songs, if not more. One question artistes rarely ask themselves is, “ Do I own the rights to use this stage name when creating music and conducting business?”

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a unique symbol or a sign which differentiates the goods and services of one business from another one. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit on payment of additional fees. Trademark protection is enforced by the courts, which in most systems have the authority to block trademark infringement.

In a larger sense, trademarks promote initiative and enterprise worldwide by rewarding the owners of trademarks with recognition and financial profit. Trademark protection also hinders the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services. The system enables people with skill and enterprise to produce and market goods and services in the fairest possible conditions, thereby facilitating international trade.

The foregoing leads to a simple question; is your stage name protected as a trademark?

There are a couple of important reasons why a stage name should be protected by trademark;

–   To avoid duplicate names

It would  be quite terrible to create and produce music for years , get a hit song and start monetizing the content  under a stage name, only to find out that there’s another artiste working under the same stage name in another part of the country (or world).

What would happen in that event is, one of the two artistes would either have to change the stage name entirely or alter it to give it a totally different feel from the other one (especially if the other artiste has had the name trademarked.) That would actually be bad news to the “losing party” who has put in lot of effort and resources to gain recognition with the earlier name and would thus need to expend more effort to establish the new stage name . A stage name is an artiste’s brand name (and it is viable stream of revenue). Changing such stage name will inevitably cost the artiste lots of money for rebranding.

–      To protect social profiles and domain names

Whichever artiste wins the “stage name dispute” is going to have the right to claim or shut down the other artiste’s web address and social media URLs, handles, etc. This act , if done shall be disheartening to the “losing party” who probably has  worked tirelssly building an online presence to have someone else “kill” the  music career momentum and vibe just because they filed the paperwork first.

Okay, So how does an artiste trademark his/her stage name?

You can register your trademark – a name, logo, slogan, domain name, shape, colour or sound with the Trademark Registry, in the Commercial Law department of the Ministry of Trade and Investment in Nigeria. This can legally protect your trademark from use by a competitor. The trademark must be distinctive for the goods and services that you provide, not be deceptive, illegal or immoral and not be similar to existing trademarks.

REQUIREMENTS FOR FILING NIGERIAN TRADE MARK APPLICATIONS

– Applicant’s details

– The trademark Information

– Goods  : The full range of goods covered or proposed to be covered by the trade mark. Nigeria presently follows the International Classification of Goods

– Power of Attorney/Authorization of Agent
For more information : Contact ife@legalbyte.com.ng

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Fawehinmi Oyinkansola Esq.

Fawehinmi Oyinkansola aka The FozaDoza is synonymous to energy and passion. With keen interest in the entertainment and legal industrIes, Foza has been able to create a niche in both industries for herself. She obtained her LL.B and a Diploma in Security studies from the prestigious Babcock University Ilisan Remo, Ogun State. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2014.

She started out in the entertainment industry as Business manager for a school group called Pro Inc which became the favourite go to hip hop group in school. This spurred her passion for talent management and she has worked as a road manager at Monarc Talent Agency (an affiliate of Aristokrat Records), G- WorldWide Entertainment as business manager and currently is the General Manager at a 360 management company (Incubation Factory).

Her clientele spans across the music, film and telecommunications industries where she has effectively brokered license, distribution and endorsement deals. She has an impressive personal and professional relationships with all her clients which ensures she creates a comfortable working relationship. She leads the music and film divisions of the firm.

Foza is a vocal and passionate change agent, a non conformist and an adventurous risk taker. These traits have made her a known face as well as speaker on the most prestigious entertainment conferences stage. She strongly believes in integrity and is driven by family and legacy building. She has received numerous awards in relations to leadership and social activities.

Foza enjoys her live band music sessions, and a gathering of talented artiste anytime. She is the life of every party and has an excellent social skill.

Olumide Mustapha Esq.

Olumide Mustapha is a technology and entertainment attorney both in Nigeria and the UK. As an undergraduate he was a student of Sociology and economics at the University of Reading in the UK before embarking on his legal career by first qualifying – with Distinction – as a Solicitor from the College of Law UK, (and then practising for a period), with a particular focus on International Commercial Law,
Tax and Intellectual Property. Having been also called to the Nigerian Bar with Honours Olumide has since continued to focus on the areas of media, entertainment and technology law.

Olumide, in applying his vast legal and business knowledge in these sectors, has successfully initiated, negotiated and pushed through numerous transactions to the commercial benefit of clients. He has advised two of the “Big Three” global music labels on their planned entry into, and commercial strategy for, the Nigerian market; negotiated significant licensing agreements with a number of major Nollywood production houses and advertising agencies on behalf of a major music publishing company; consulted for one of the country’s biggest copyright collective management organisations; and worked with numerous technology start-ups in securing funding and scaling their businesses. Olumide is also the Chair of the Music Publishers Association of Nigeria.

On the back of such experience Olumide has also built over time a formidable network of contacts that allows his clients to enjoy a full suite of legal and business advisory services that include the ability to source funds, conveniently acquire/produce/licence valuable content, in addition to ensuring specialised due
diligence is carried out on all transactions and that good governance is practiced at all times; all with a keen understanding of the relevant market dynamics and client’s specific commercial objectives. Moreover, he has significant experience in litigation and has a lot of expertise in utilising the Nigerian court system to ensure client’s rights are protected and enforced at all times.

Never being one to shy away from sharing his professional thoughts, opinions, and analyses, Olumide is regularly featured in various media to provide his views and analysis on the legal and business issues surrounding the Nigerian entertainment and technology industries. Such media outlets include Channels TV, TVC, NigeriaInfo FM, Business Day, The Guardian, Techpoint Africa, and the African
Venture Capital Newsletter amongst others.

Olumide’s aim is to use his years of experience and expertise in international commercial and intellectual property law related matters, and strong network of contacts – both foreign and domestic – to contribute to the legal development of Nigerian enterprise structures and governance, and general business practice; thereby pushing the country closer towards fulfilling its socio-economic potential.

Iredumare Ojengbede Opeyemi

A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University Nigeria (LLB) and University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (LLM) is a legal practitioner in Nigeria with over six years of experience in intellectual property, telecommunication and cyberspace Law.

He is a cyberspace, media and entertainment researcher with keen interest in Music, Film and Television, digital rights and personal data protection, intellectual property protection, creative financing, Media Advocacy and information literacy on the digital space. A cultured, informed and disciplined legal practitioner, who prides himself as a strategic solution executor, an expert in identifying root challenges and creating specific market/territory based solutions to cyberspace and digital challenges. He is always constantly seeking growth opportunities and self-improvement initiatives as a team player working in and for goal-oriented organizations.

Iredumare has spent the last two years facilitating multimillion naira deals for his clients across catalog licensing, catalog acquisition, intellectual property estate valuation as well as developing music business models for various value chain members in the African creative industry. Iredumare enjoys reading and having solution driven conversations with like minds.