skip to main content

Creating an Identity

How to register a band name, form a company and buy a trademark.

Last updated: 29 March 2021

Registering a name

You can perform under your own name and no one can take that right away from you, no matter how many others share it, provided your use ‘is in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters’.

Forming a company

Registering a limited company in your band name would prevent anyone else using the same company name. You can perform an online search to see if your band name is available from Companies House.

Please note that membership of the MU is personal, and as such the Union’s Legal Advice and Assistance scheme is only available to members in their personal capacity. A limited company is a separate legal entity to yourself, and a request for legal advice or assistance for the limited company would have to be turned down.

Buying a trademark

Although it is the most effective way to protect your band name, registering it as trademark can be expensive, and will only be effective in the territories in which you register. A UK trademark only covers the UK. A US trademark only covers the US. A Community trademark only covers the European Union. So to gain worldwide protection you would have to register in every territory in the world. 

It’s up to each band to decide whether they need or can afford to register a trademark. It is probably not worth it for an amateur band playing infrequently, but if the band has been going for a few years and has built up a reputation and following, then they may feel the name is worth protecting so no-one else can steal it.

Registering can be expensive — fees start at £175 to register a trademark just in the UK, and just in one class, and £50 for each additional class. And if you get a trademark attorney, trademark agent or lawyer involved to help you through the process and deal with any problems, then you will have their fees to pay too.

In order to rule out names that have previously been trademarked in the UK, EU or USA, and for more information on the subject log onto the UK Intellectual Property Office , the EU Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market, or the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Getting started

Choosing a name

Name has to suit you, reflect your work and it is advisable for it to have a timeless quality as you will have to live with it for a long time. Research your potential name online thoroughly, through Companies House and IPO, to make sure it does not belong to someone else already.

Visual identity

Creating a logo and a distinctive design can boost your visibility. Make sure the logo designer assigns copyright to you in writing.

Online presence

You might need your own website or you will need to be visible on other websites. Consider having a presence on social media that suits your communication needs and style, and where your audience might be.

Buy a trademark

If your name has already been trademarked, another party could stop you from using it.