Registering Trademark for a Podcast.
Podcasts and Trademark
It is apparent that a podcast, just like novels and other literary works, is a product of someone's intellect. A podcast has intellectual property rights regardless of whether it is launched as a pastime or as a means of revenue. Different kinds of such rights are mentioned in the latter part of the article.
One of the first challenges that podcasters come across is deciding a captivating name for their shows. The protection of the newly created name is the succeeding greatest problem. Registering trademark is an effective method to face this problem.
Podcasters dedicate a lot of effort and energy into developing their podcast and its content, though if they don't take the necessary safeguards, it might all be for nothing. Many podcasters also design creative logos and taglines to set their brand apart from competing ones in the market.
Podcasters frequently benefit from such brand collaterals while selling their creations. Thus, it only makes sense to trademark the brand name, together with the logo and tagline.
What can be Protected with Trademarks?
There are a lot of aspects that contribute towards the success of a podcast. Trademarks act as an easy getaway to protect them and ensure long and healthy lives of podcast in the competing world. A podcaster can trademark the following features of their podcast:
Its name or title
Its slogan or catchphrase
Its logo or other symbols associated
Other features such as colours, sounds, mascots, usernames, clothing brands, book series titles, artist and band names, pictures and pieces of artwork, etc. could also be protected in a similar manoeuvre.
One of the major advantages in this is that there is no need for a separate business entity. A podcast can run with or without an allied business.
What are the Essentials to Trademark a Podcast?
The name of the podcast that is to be trademarked must be unique: Runnig a trademark clearance check to determine if the title has already been taken.
Deciding the basis for registering a trademark: Choosing between Use in commerce or Intent to use trademarks as per current use.
Categorising the trademark: Determining suitable category of the total 45 trademark classifications of products and services.
Checking the Podcasts’ Name Availability
As the podcasters wish to safeguard the name of their own podcast, it is imperative to take precautions to ensure that they do not take on any already-registered name of trade. They could do this with the use of a wide-ranging trademark names’ research. It is also advised to keep in mind that trademarks exist in both registered and unregistered brands. As a result, the owner of a trademark is the person who first used it, not the person who filed for it first.
This check proves to be beneficial to avoid potential future conflicts and suits, thereby saving time, resources, and finances of the podcasters.
Decision of the Name of Podcast
Even though a creator is free to give their podcast any name, it would be preferable if it would be different and stand out.
That is for two apparent reasons: (1) infringing on unique names is quite uncommon, and (2) there is also a very little probability that this name will do so either. Ill-advisedly, even altering an existing trademark's spelling and adding a few more ‘A’s and ‘E’s would still be considered infringement. The podcaster might get into legal issues even if they use a name that sounds vaguely close to an existing trademarked name.
Furthermore, using well-known terms and claiming to be the creator of them would be blatantly unfair to others. Resultantly, podcasters must work hard to come up with original titles for their brands. These names are most well-protected and are least likely to be used unlawfully.
Frisbee, Dumpster, and Band Aid are few examples of trademarked names. Similar to how many well-known companies have brand names that actually had no significance at first. Hence, once deciding on the name, as a first, podcasters should approach towards getting a trademark for it.
Is Filing for a Trademark mandatory for Podcasts?
An absolute no! The filing of a trademark is not required for podcasts or any other type of establishment. A trademark is established once a podcast with a name is issued. Even the logo is not mandatory in such a case.
If the work and brand name are innovative, the podcaster hence holds a piece of intellectual property. The podcaster can inform people that a trademark right already exists in the name but hasn't been registered by using the letters ‘TM’.
The best course of action yet, is to register the brand name because it makes handling the situation in the event of an infringement easier. It must be noted that trademarks that are not registered get protected under the common law, rather than the Trademarks Act of 1999. The plaintiff's burden of proof is far less onerous, in case when the trademark is registered. Therefore, it is preferable usually.
It is also not mandatory to hire lawyers for the registration of trademark of podcasts. Nevertheless, hiring one is better simply because a professional can manage the registration procedure rather well. Before registering, a trademark search must be done to make sure the name is original. The best individual to carry it out will be a trademark attorney. Applications submitted by lawyers are more likely to be registered successfully.
What is the Registration process for Trademark of Podcasts?
As discussed in the earlier part, the first step before making application for trademark is to conduct an in-depth trademark search for the name of the podcast.
Once the name of the podcast is finalised, an application should be filed. This application must consist of the name of the podcast with its accurate and exact spelling, along with its logo and tagline, if applicable. The class of the said podcast should also be there in the application, from the 45 classes of trademark. In general, podcasts can come under class 9, that is for downloadable audio files, or class 41, that is for education, training, entertainment or cultural services, as per NICE classification.
The above made application then should be submitted in the Controller General’s Office of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, with other essential documents. The Trademark Registry, consequently, ascribe an application number to it. This number can be used to track the status of application, online.
Following that, a decision is made by the Trademark Registry to accept or reject the application, based on its credibility. An examination report is presented, which also reveals if there were any inconsistencies in the application.
In case there are any queries raised, the podcaster or their representative addresses them, and thereafter, the application is accepted, with the registration of the trademark of podcast. If the application is still rejected, it goes for a further hearing.
An accepted application then makes its way to be published in the trademark journal.
Finally, the podcaster is then issued a trademark registration certificate.
It is always preferable to register a trademark as soon as possible. There are a few factors to take into account when registering your trademark. Even when two very separate companies provide entirely different goods or services, they may utilise the same trademark name.
Because they are not selling the same goods in these situations, neither company owner may file a lawsuit against the other.
In other situations, the trademark office only permits numerous federal registrations to have similar marks if the word or phrase used in the trademark name is generic. Trademark squatting is another issue that every podcaster should be aware of.
When someone registers your trademark before you and then approaches you with a purchase offer, this is known as trademark squatting. People frequently find out about your possible trademark name or determine which trademarks people are most likely to use and reserve them until they are required to be purchased.
Therefore, employ caution while using brainstorming platforms and be selective about who you share your ideas with.
Authored by Jiya Khandelwal