Harrisburg, PA asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania

Q: Is there anything I can about my podcast name getting trademarked?

Started a podcast in 2016 and was planning to trademark the name last year, but I noticed a podcast that started after ours and were former fans of ours, trademarked the name in January 2022.

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: If you started using your podcast name in 2016 and discovered that former fans of your podcast, who started their podcast after yours, successfully trademarked the same name in January 2022, you may still have options to challenge their trademark registration. In the United States, trademark rights are based primarily on first use in commerce, not merely on who registers the mark first. Given this principle, you might have a basis to oppose their trademark or seek cancellation of their registration by proving that you used the name commercially before they did. It would be wise to gather all evidence of your prior use, including episodes, marketing materials, and any other documentation that shows your podcast's name in use before their trademark registration.

James L. Arrasmith
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A: It can be frustrating to discover that another podcast has trademarked a name similar to yours, especially if you've been using it for several years. However, trademark law can be complex, and the timing of trademark applications can impact the outcome. If the other podcast successfully registered the trademark before you did, it may limit your options for challenging their registration.

Before taking any action, it's essential to gather evidence of your prior use of the podcast name, such as the date of your podcast's first episode, social media posts, website content, or any other materials that demonstrate your use of the name in commerce. This evidence can help support your claim to prior rights in the name and potentially strengthen your position in any legal proceedings or negotiations.

Consider consulting with a trademark attorney to discuss your options and determine the best course of action. They can advise you on the strength of your case, the likelihood of success in challenging the trademark registration, and any potential legal risks or consequences. With their guidance, you can make informed decisions about how to protect your podcast's name and intellectual property rights effectively.

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