I'm the owner of a small (as of now) record label that will soon be based near Los Angeles, but will operate as a national company due to our ability to work with artists online. I've read over and over that there is no way to copyright a company name, but I just want to hear a final say from a professional before I give up. As I'm sure you can imagine, it's not a comforting thought to know someone can just rip off my company name and operate under it as they please. Is there ANY kind of loophole I can use to get even the smallest amount of legal protection?
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
Actually, you can definitely protect a company name. The proper mechanism, however, is trademark protection!!!! If you are already using it in interstate commerce, and have a specimen showing how you apply the mark (as a service mark or trademark), then you can and should file for protection today. Even if you have not yet used the mark in interstate commerce (i.e., by advertising services to artists via a website or by offering actual albums and digital releases for download online), you can seek such protection on an "intent to use" basis.
As your action plan, consider retaining an intellectual property attorney to arrange a search (just to keep you out of trouble in case someone ELSE has prior rights in the name) and then file the necessary trademark applications. If you would like to know more, I offer a free initial consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorney
What you need is a trademark to protect your company name. Copyrights protect works of intellectual property whereas trademarks protect business names and logos. Also, incorporating your company gives some protection as to the company name. Go to www.uspto.gov or hire a qualified intellectual property attorney to help you out.
I agree with my colleagues:
You need trademark protection, thus you should consult with a lawyer who provides trademark registration services.
This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
I agree with my colleagues. You need to trademark your company's name, you can do it yourself but I suggest you hire a local attorney well versed in trademark law to do it for you.
Also, as others have suggested you should also understand that if you incorporate your company, your company will gain some measure of protection for it's name. I do not know if you have incorporated the company yet, but if not, you should consult with a local attorney well versed in corporate formations to assist you with incorporation. You might be able to find an attorney who does both trademark law and corporate formations, and get them to help you protect your company's name from both angles.
ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT. I have not heard the whole story and have not had the opportunity to review the relevant documents. This communication does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by viewing or responding to this post. If you need an attorney, you should contact a local attorney, rather than relying on a post on the Internet. Kalyan is licensed to practice law in California (State Bar number 259947.) This is a communication concerning my availability for professional employment within the meaning of California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400(A). Viewing of this post does not constitute the provision of legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by viewing or responding to this post