Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wants to Use Radio Show Name for Other Purposes

Dear Rich: I am the creator, producer and host of a radio show whose name identifies the radio show. In fact it is how listeners recognize the show and it is distinguished from other radio shows because of its name and content. I want to trademark the name of the show and it's content. This show is broadcast on the Internet. However, I plan to take the show to other stations as a syndicated broadcast as well as a show that is listened to in malls, as content for airports, stores and to listen to while flying on an airplane. How should the name be trademarked and can the content be trademarked as well. The name of the radio show can also be sold on T-shirts, hats, cups as well as music compilations. We're back at "malls." Do people  listen to the radio at malls? We thought it was all canned playlists. We could be wrong because (full disclosure), the last mall we were in was the Stonestown Galleria in 2008 where someone doing a survey felt bad for us because we didn't own a microwave. Anyway -- syndication, t-shirts, 747s, and the mall, too -- you've got your work cut out for you and we better get busy with an answer.
Right, you had a question. If you're concerned that someone else will use your trademark (the name of your show) for similar purposes, file an application for federal trademark registration. You can learn more about the process here or here. You would file in International Class 041, and your official description of services would be, "Entertainment, namely, a continuing {indicate type, e.g. variety, news, comedy} show broadcast over {indicate form(s) of broadcast medium, e.g. television, radio, internet}." T-shirts and cups would require that you would register the name in additional classes. Application fees range from $275 to $325 per class (depending on the system you use to file), so it might get pricey to file for several classes at one time. And if you're not currently using the name in connection with particular goods or services, it costs even more because you would be filing an intent-to-use application. The Dear Rich staff thinks you should take a conservative approach to filing and start with the most important class (041) and expand as your radio show gains traction.
Speaking of trademarks ... Has a trademark owner bullied you or your small business? The USPTO is soliciting comments. The TTAB Blog has the scoop (BTW, the blog's author would not approve of your use of the term "trademarked.")