How Does Someone Register a Stage Name?

A stage name can be registered through Equity in the United States or the United Kingdom, which is the professional stage actors association in both countries, and a band name or legal name can be registered through the patent and trademark office of the United States government. A trademark can be registered for a band name with an application and application fees; however, stage names are typically not registered as a trademark or patent and are only registered in select performing arts databases, such as Equity.

In Actors Equity, the only way to register a name is to join the union. However, joining the union requires being invited or earning a spot. Once in, the professional name or "stage name" that is registered should be unique. Equity urges actors to choose a unique professional name so that this "stage name" can be a personal "brand name" that is not confused with other artists' names.

Actors are encouraged to choose a stage name and then use that exact name for all of their memberships to acting organizations and performances in any medium including the stage, film or television to help keep them recognizable as performers. They are also encouraged to check Equity and other acting organizations to make sure that their name is truly unique and, if not, to change the first or last name rather than simply add an initial or double bar the first name.