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Record label name ownership

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:45 am    Post subject: Record label name ownership Reply with quote


My first post here and really hope you guys can help me out.

I started a record label in late 2003 which went on to have 5 vinyl releases an have just started it back up by selling new music via MP3.

The Label had two tracks go on to major CD Compilations that were sold in shops such as HMV ect and has another two album deals lined up.

My question is that another group of artists are using the same label name as me based in Germany.

Is this legal?

I mean i would let it go but the genre is quite close to what i release so feel i have to act.

If its any help im based in the U.K

Hope to hear from you guys soon and thanks inm advance.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh i forgot to mention
The other label has also been using the same cat numbers for 5 releases too
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your record label is best described as a tradename or trademark. Nornally to gain exclusive protection a Trademark needs to registered in the jurisdiction where the protection is wanted. So if you aim to sell your albums in the UK but not on Japan there is little point in registering the record label name in Japan, but every reason to do so in the UK. A trademark is registered under specific classifications relating to the goods or services which are to be sold using it. So a brand like Virgin needs to registered under a number of classifications whereas a record label might only need to be in one clasification, Class 9. You can find out more about the process of registereing a trademark on the UK Intellectual Property Office website Registration costs 200 plus 50 per additional classification and is valid for 10 years, after which it can be renewed. There is no limit to the number of times a tradmark can be renewed if it is still in use.
To be eligible for registration a mark needs to fulfill certain criteria: it needs to be capable of being represented graphically and should distinguish your goods from those of another producer. So a logo or name which was very similar in appearance to that of a rival would not be eligible if the average person is likely to confused into thinking it is the trademark of the other company. The reason for this is obvious. There are several other criteria which are discussed on the IPO website.
An unregistered trademark cannot benefit from the legal protection of the Trade Marks Act 1994, but the pre-existence of an established but unregistered mark can prevent someone else registering that mark (or something very similar) as theirs.
To cover the rest of the EU, a trade mark can be registered as a Commuinity Trade Mark (CTM) through the UK IPO or through a separate EU office known as OHIM The criteria are largely the same as for a UK trademark. So in your case, there might be a problem in gaining CTM status now due to the existence of the German company. Much will depend on whether they have registered their tradename in Germany. If they have , then your CTM application would be likely to fail. If they haven't, then unless they saw your application being published in the CTM Bulletin prior to approval and objected, your application might succeed, but could always challenged later in the courts if the German company could prove they had a prior claim and were well-known in Germany. Currently I don't think it is possible to check online whether the German company has registered their trademark. In time the German details should be available via this site:
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