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Do we change our band name or fight trademark holder?

Do we change our band name or fight trademark holder?

I'm part of a rock band that was created in 2003 in New Orlando. In 2004 a guy sent harassing emails to us that he has claim to the band name. By this time we had our second album released. He would send death threats to the band, fans and establishments that we played.
We filed police and FBI reports on him in the state of Arkansa. After our 3rd album, we discovered that he trademarked the name in 2007. My band and it's releases are recognized by Billboard, AllMusicGuide, ArtistDirect and other reputable music catalogs.
Our opposer has recently gone to jail for harassment and he also has no recognition or product attached to the trademark. We have our fourth album being finished. Do we change our name or fight his claim to the name?

~ Louisiana

Wow. I guess success brings copycats and people who desire to trade on your name.

Options here include:

  1. a TTAB trademark cancellation proceeding;
  2. a lawsuit to address the variety of issues;
  3. ignoring his trademark; and
  4. changing your name.

Which action to take will depend on doing the appropriate research into the facts that you know, the facts you can prove, and a review of the trademark record at the US trademark office. In the end, given the very personal nature of "death threats", I think you need to consult with an attorney and do a little soul searching about what is best. Think not just about your legal rights, but the real threat this guy poses.

On one hand, you do not want to hurt your ability to make a living, on the other hand, you do not want to stop living. Perhaps you should also consider a security guard when he gets out of jail?

Good luck!

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