How Can a Trademark Help an Artist?

Trademarks can be very useful for professional artists in the development of their career. 


Copywriting and Trademarking an Idea 


Many artists have ideas that they would like to protect. However, an idea cannot be copyrighted nor can it be trademarked. 


In order to ensure protection for an idea that you have, the best thing for you to do is to inform the person that you’re speaking with it, you’re telling them this incompetence, and get it somewhere in writing that it is your idea. For example: during a business meeting, if you share an idea, make sure after that meeting, you send them a quick email, confirming that you discussed your idea. 


A trademark is NOT a copyright


Many people think that trademarks are protections for artistic works. This is not true.  In order to protect your tangible creative works, you need to copyright it. A copyright is different from a trademark because a copyright protects the actual created work. A copyright protects the actual art. 


What is a trademark 


It’s easy to think of a trademark as a form of intellectual property ownership that protects a business. For example one can trademark the name of an LLC, the artist name, or the business slogan. You can trademark a sound or a jingle. These are things that you can declare your ownership over if you process a trademark application. 


A real life example is Paris Hilton trying to trademark that’s hot, because she always used that ensemble of words. She wanted to have ownership over that slogan of words. 


Benefits of a Trademark: Economic Benefit  


Filing a trademark provides the user with protections to their economic benefit. It allows for the user to have exclusivity over what is trademarked.  The whole point of issuing a trademark is so that you have an economic benefit resulting from the ownership.  


Benefits of a Trademark: Branding 


Trademarks allow for consistency within branding. It allows for the company to create a uniform framework for the audience and clients. 


This is extremely important now in 2022, to where you can speak and really have dialogues and really have conversations with your patrons with people that are following your artwork. The more you present yourself as a united front, from the branding to the trademarking to the really, to the monetization of your work, the stronger the artists will be, and the more successful you’ll be, because you’re actually monetizing and earning income off your work, which is what I think all artists want to do. 

Elektra Yao is the managing attorney and founder of Yao Law Group. She loves working with artists and is a recognized leader for O-1 visas. Visit for more information.

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