The Importance of the Trademark

One aspect of the entertainment industry that I see even my most sophisticated clients ignore is branding and trademarks. The function of a trademark is to help consumers distinguish between the source of goods and services. So for example, seeing the Coca Cola trademark on a beverage lets the consumer know exactly what they can expect from that drink. If there were no trademark protection anybody could label their drink Coca Cola and people would have no idea what they were getting each time they went to the store.

Now what is the relevance to the entertainment industry? Well trademarks function the same way in the services and entertainment context. A person or entity's trademark lets people know just what kinds of entertainment is provided by them.

My advice to new clients is to be aware and use your resources to construct a brand for their entertainment related business that will function to separate them from the herd. I also tell them to be very aware of the dangers of using a word, symbol, or other device as a trademark that may actually confuse them with someone else. Because the the last thing that anyone wants is to spend countless hours of time and energy building a following around a particular stage name, business name, or something else and then to have to start over after someone comes along who was using a similar name first and threatens legal action if the name continues to be used.

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