Why did Rüfüs change its name to Rüfüs Du Sol back in 2014?

Why did Rüfüs change its name to Rüfüs Du Sol back in 2014?

Sydney born “indie / electronic dance” music group, originally known as Rüfüs, demonstrates the common curse of musical artists and business owners alike: potential trademark infringement.

Being on the wrong side of trademark protection can certainly throw a spanner in the works when it comes to using a name or a mark.

Music group Rüfüs Du Sol almost learned this the hard way, because it could’ve been much worse! They at least managed to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings.

After going international in 2010, Rüfüs took stages everywhere, including the US to play for fans. Upon signing to Columbia records for the US production of their Atlas Album, the group was faced with needing to re-brand on account of there being a pre-existing trade mark for the name of Rüfüs in the US in 2014.

Without protection over the name, Columbia would never have signed them to produce their Atlas Album in the US for fear that a tricky legal situation would occur over the rights to the name.

It’s not been publicised who was the trade mark owner that sent the cease and desist letter, but the name is very similar to Chaka Khan’s 1970s Chicago funk band “Rufus”, who’s songs Ain’t Nobody and Tell Me Something Good topped the music charts at the time.

After what the group considered to be a “colourful” back and forth with lawyers and after much internal debate, they mutually agreed on Rüfüs Du Sol. In a statement at the time, the group announced “we’re going to be known as RUFUS DU SOL in North America only… because trademark is a serious b****”.

At first the group used the name Rüfüs Du Sol in the US exclusively, until it naturally became their recognised name in all other countries, eventually becoming so popular the new name absorbed their previous identity.

It goes to show that music groups should consider themselves as much like a business as possible, to avoid issues like these. Due diligence with name creation and trademarking a name internationally are both necessary considerations.

As a business owner, you may be inspired to think of what exactly your business name could have to make it even more distinguishable and appealing to your audience, after all, musicians, bands and business owners cater to their markets.

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