What is a “Name of an Artist” Refusal?

A “name of an artist” trademark refusal occurs when a trademark application is denied because the name being applied for is primarily the name of an artist, and not capable of serving as a trademark.

In order to overcome a “name of an artist” trademark refusal, the applicant may have to prove that the name has acquired a secondary meaning, or is otherwise distinctive enough to function as a trademark. This can be done by submitting evidence of substantial use and recognition of the name as a trademark. Alternatively, the applicant may change the mark to include additional wording or design elements that make it more distinctive.