The Importance and Process of Trademark Registration for PodcastsDecember 10, 2022 By Shyam Parmar
Did you know doing trademark registration of a podcast is just as crucial as trademarking a business? Or else your podcast becomes an easy target for anyone to misuse it. Want that? Then you better trademark it and here’s how you do it.
Podcast: A New Trend in the Town?
A concept that was coined in 2000 has now become a trend such that there are over 2.4 million podcasts and more than 420 million podcast listeners around the globe. So no more proof is needed than these figures which clearly state that the podcast industry has grown significantly over the years and will definitely ascend as a popular media in the coming years too. The reason is; a podcast is a convenient form of communication that provides you with information while you can multitask. Confused? Let’s understand what is a podcast first.
Podcasts can be best described as modified audiobooks which are like new-age books but one need not have to take time to sit and read through voluminous books. Podcasts are audio programs that listeners can subscribe to and download to their mobile devices. After subscribing or downloading the audio files, pods allow their listeners to get information anytime while continuing with their daily lives, whether that’s commuting to work, cooking, or exercising. Moreover, it helps listeners find a like-minded community via certain subjects as podcast hosts often interact with their subscribers on social media platforms, and it is more engaging than it sounds.
Podcasting is gradually turning into a primary business for making money online from the comfort of the home for some as there are free platforms that can help monetize the content also one need not have to leave their job to do podcasting as it is a manageable side hustle. But, whether a podcast is started as a hobby or business, a podcast by itself is a property of one’s intellect and hence it must be protected by doing a trademark registration of it. So, let's see why it is necessary to do a podcast trademark and what steps you need to follow to safeguard it.
Importance of Trademark Registration of Podcast
“It is just a podcast, who will steal anything from it?” this thinking is the biggest mistake podcasters make and which later lands them in trouble. Skipping trademark registration for your podcast is something you must never do because any element, be it your podcast name, logo, or tagline once stolen can only be reclaimed if you have trademarked it.
Since the competition is tough and every now and then a podcast voices out, it takes a lot of effort to set your brand identity that makes you stand out from others hence rather than waiting for generating quite a number of followers, the trademark registration of your podcast should be done as soon as possible if you are pretty serious about it.
As a podcaster, you will be spending countless hours building your brand, from researching new topics and interviewing guests to recording and editing your shows, developing your podcast with a show title, and crafting a logo and artwork that helps listeners identify your brand, including creating a voice that is uniquely yours, therefore trademarking these elements becomes vital in order to prevent someone from defaming your podcast or use your hard-earned goodwill for their own benefit. So, check out the following procedure to know how to trademark a podcast.
Steps for Trademark Registration for Podcast
If you thought naming your podcast is the biggest challenge then wait for the availability check of podcast names which is the most difficult part of trademark registration because checking to see if a name and logo you are intending to use are available or not is not as easy as it sounds.
Step 1 - Begin With Name Search and Availability
As much as coining a name for your podcast is important, checking for its availability too is a must because before you get attached to a name that you are thinking is unique, might already be an existing one. Conduct a trademark search until you find your unique brand name. Remember that even unregistered brand names can be used as trademarks therefore, a trademark belongs to the one who first started using it and not to the one who was first to file it. So, due care must be taken to not infringe on the rights of other firms.
Step 2 - Come Up With Something Unique
We understand being unique in this competitive world is not a nut that anyone can crack easily but, it is important for you to find a unique name for your podcast because firstly the chances of infringement are less for rare and distinctive names, and secondly, the odds of such unique names infringing an existing one is almost zero. Therefore, you must find a very different name that not even is vaguely similar to an existing registered trademark, or else you may face legal trouble.
You cannot use popular or common terms and can neither shuffle a few letters nor add extra to make it unique. In fact, made-up words have better scope in being unique than altering an existing one. If nothing works, better hire a trademark registration expert who will not only help you choose a unique podcast name but will also run a check for you to find out whether the trademark name is available to use.
Step 3 - Apply for Trademark Registration Process
After extensive brainstorming and research, as soon as you find your unique name, it is advisable to apply for trademark registration the very instant because you don't want to go through the entire name search process, right? So, ready?
- Start by filing an application with the name of the podcast spelled out correctly, along with taglines and logo.
- Make sure you have mentioned the correct class in the application or else your application won’t be processed until the right category is selected. Based on the NICE classification, podcasts would fall into class 9 (downloadable MP3 files) or class 41 (entertainment services).
- Submit the application form along with other required documents to the Controller General's Office of Patents, Designs, & Trademarks.
- A unique application number will be assigned to you by the Trademark Registry, using which you can track the status of the application online.
- Thereafter, the Trademark Registry will review your application, and depending on the circumstances, it can be unanimously accepted or rejected.
- If any kind of discrepancy is found in your application, the Trademark Registry will make a note of it in the examination report.
- If the applicant justifies the discrepancies, the trademark is accepted and registered. If not, a hearing is scheduled.
- Lastly, when the application is approved, the registered trademark is published in the trademark journal to check if there is any objection from the public. If no opposition is filed, the applicant is awarded a trademark registration certificate.
Please note that, with ⟨™⟩ symbol, you can notify everyone that the trademark right subsists in the name and that it has not been registered but kept in mind that unregistered trademarks get protection only through common law. Whereas with the registered the ® sign in your logo, you can take action against any kind of violation of your brand as per the Trademarks Act, of 1999.
Is it Possible to Podcast Without Trademark Registration?
Yes, you can absolutely podcast as just like running any random business without registration, and it is not at all mandatory to file a trademark for a podcast. It is up to the owner to decide whether he/she wants to protect their intellectual property or not. However, it is best to do trademark registration for podcasts or any intellectual property because by doing so you as an owner get the exclusive rights upon it using which the owner can trademark all other items that fall within the designated class(es) in the application as well as prevent others from using it in the class(es) in which it is registered and even sue for infringement.
In a Nutshell
By registering your podcast elements, you not only safeguard your brand from being copied or defamed but also create your separate identity among the crowd through which listeners will recognize you. You will build trust among your listeners with your trademarked podcast and it will also speak about your organization's vision, quality, and uniqueness.
So. If you are ready and confident with your podcast but are worried about podcast trademarks then take a deep breath because the experts of the best trademark law firm Parker and Parker Co. LLP are all ears and eyes to do the job for you with dedicated support and assured results. Reach out now!