Personal Injury

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Civil Litigation Trust Litigation


Music Industry

Trademarks Music Industry

Musicians to manufacturers of musical instruments need to protect both their short-term interests and long-term career goals through sound planning and consideration of basic business, contract, and intellectual property principles. Aspiring artists need to be careful when signing contracts, manufacturers need to protect their trade secrets. Initial artist contracts are typically one-sided and unfair - locking up-and-coming artists into exclusive contracts that can last for decades, as well as create a situation where these individuals or groups are exploited and taken advantage of for their entire careers.  Trade secrets are often absconded with by prior employees and competitors.

Imagine an attorney who is crafting a solution for your legal issue, which will reverberate throughout your entire musical career, and that attorney has never played a musical instrument or traded professionally within the music industry. Would that attorney understand the musical consequences of their decisions upon your career? Most likely not. On the other hand, Attorney Eric Rechsteiner has made his sole living in the music industry, performing and teaching music since 1990.  This has given Attorney Eric Rechsteiner a wealth of experience and information to draw upon to exceedingly advise and construct appropriate legal solutions for an artists legal needs within the music industry.

The Law Office of Eric J. Rechsteiner provides comprehensive legal services that include assistance with intellectual property, trade secrets, trademarks, copyright protection and licensing, recording, distribution and publishing agreements, advertising and promotional issues.  We are located in Redlands, conveniently close to the entertainment communities of Los Angeles County.

The Cost of Litigation

The cost of civil litigation many times discourages an artist from pursuing or defending against a civil suit.  This is because the financial demands of civil litigation may exceed a monetary award for damages or extend beyond the ability of the artist to pay for their own representation.   Understanding this frustration is what separates the Law Office of Eric J. Rechsteiner from other attorneys in accepting cases in this area of law.

As a professional musician himself for over 25 years, Attorney Eric Rechsteiner understands that value in the arts is not alone measured by dollars and cents but by passion.  In essence, an artist while pursuing their expression will not concern themselves with shallow forms of monetary compensation during such endeavors.  Therefore, when an artists expression is violated by an illegal act, it requires an attorney with this understanding to translate loss of passion into appropriate compensation for the aggrieved artist.

From artists to manufacturers of musical instruments, if you believe a legal right of yours has been violated, don't give up pursuit of a civil suit based upon your current lack of finances.  Contact the Law Office of Eric J. Rechsteiner at (909) 255-9529 or contact us here for a free consultation.

Areas of Representation

  1. Breach of Contract
  2. Contract Formation
  3. Drafting Agreements for Bands
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Copyright Registration and Protection
  6. Trademark Registration and Protection
  7. Internet Piracy
  8. Injunctive Relief

NAMM - National Association of Music Merchants

In support of musicians, music service providers and music instrument manufacturers, Rechsteiner Law is a proud member of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).


This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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  6. Trademark Notice
    Trade names, logos and service marks of Rechsteiner Law are trademarks of Rechsteiner Law (the “Marks”). Without our prior permission, you agree not to display or use in any manner the Marks. Other logos, product and service names are the property of their respective owners, as may be indicated on the Website.

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A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. In other-words, a trademark is made up of distinct shapes, letters, numbers, sounds, smells and/or colors created for the purpose of promoting a product.

A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Simply stated, a service mark promotes services. Examples of service marks are: McDonald's (food service), FedEx (delivery service), MTV (television network service).

Trade dress is another type of trademark. Trade dress deals with packaging (Coca-Cola bottle, Netflix envelope), decor, product shape and web pages.

In order to legally protect a trademark, the trademark must be distinctive. A trademark may become distinctive in two ways:

  1. Born distinctive (inherently distinctive)
  2. Achieve distinction through sales and advertising over several years.

Rechsteiner Law handles trademark issues throughout southern California including San Bernardino County and surrounding areas.

Trademark Registration

There are two ways which a trademark may become registered. The first and preferred way is to register your trademak through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A trademark registered though the USPTO is known as a federally registered trademark. Once registered,a federally registered trademark becomes empowered with the protection of constructive notice. Constructive notice is a legal term meaning that persons are presumed to have knowledge of something by virtue of the fact that it is in the public record. This principle means that someone cannot deny knowledge of a fact because they have a duty to inquire. Because knowledge of your ownership interest in the trademark is automatically imparted to the public, the owner of the trademark may recover from an infringer:

  1. Treble damages (3x money damages),
  2. Infringers profits,
  3. Attorney's fees if deliberate infringement

A second way a trademark may become registered is through it's use in the marketplace even though it is not filed at the USPTO. This is known as a common law trademark. Though a common law trademark is not empowered with the protection of constructive notice, it is protected with the principal of first-in-time, first-in-right. Meaning, if you use the trademark in commerce before another uses a same or similar trademark in commerce, your rights may prevail even though the other trademark may be registered at the USPTO.

In sum, it's recommended to federally register your trademark. This also allows you to use the ® symbol with your trademark which gives those who see your mark actual notice that your trademark is federally registered whereas a commonlaw trademark only allows its owner to use the ™ symbol. An owner of a common law trademark who uses the ® symbol subjects themselves to the tort of fraud.

Trademark Infringement

If a party owns the rights to a particular trademark, that party can sue subsequent parties for trademark infringement. The standard is "likelihood of confusion." To be more specific, the use of a trademark in connection with the sale of a good or providing of a service constitutes infringement if it is likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source, sponsorship, or approval of such good or service. In deciding whether consumers are likely to be confused, the courts will typically look to a number of factors, including: (1) the strength of the mark; (2) the proximity of the goods; (3) the similarity of the marks; (4) evidence of actual confusion; (5) the similarity of marketing channels used; (6) the degree of caution exercised by the typical purchaser; (7) the defendant's intent.

Trademark infringment creates dilution by blurring though the association of a famous mark and a similar mark or trade name that impars the distinctiveness of the famous mark. For example, in the music industry there is a notorious guitar manufacturing company named Fender. If another guitar manufacturing company subsequently named themselves D'fender (Defender), would that impair the distinctiveness of the Fender trademark name? Probably so. On the other end of the spectrum, using the same term on a completely unrelated product will not likely give rise to an infringement claim. Thus, a manufacturer of automotive parts named Fender may be able to peacefully co-exist with Fender the guitar manufacturer since consumers are not likely to confuse the automotive parts being made by Fender Auto are being made by Fender Guitars.

Another manner of infringment is called tarnishment. This occurs when an association arises from the similarity between a mark or trade name and a famous mark that harms the reputation of the famous mark. For example, what would happen if one sold sex aids called Microsoft? This would dilute the strength of the Microsoft trademark name by tarnishing it's reputation for quality and/or blurring the marks distinctiveness in the public eye. In essence, this would harm the reputation of the famous mark.

For more information about infringements, please contact Rechsteiner Law here.

Trademark Litigation

Trademark litigation traditionally commences by serving an infringing party with a letter to cease and desist. If the infringer continues to use the famous mark, the owner of the famous mark may sue for damages and/or injunctive relief in federal court. This involves filing a complaint and commencing discovery by serving requests for admission, special interrogatories, production of documents, and administering depositions in preparation for trial.


This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Eric J. Rechsteiner, Esq.

Eric J. Rechsteiner is the founder and owner of Rechsteiner Law. He has a Juris Doctorate degree from California Southern Law School, California. He also received his entire undergraduate schooling from the University of Redlands, California earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Business.

He represents clients throughout the Inland Empire and surrounding areas.

Practice areas include:

  1. Civil Litigation
  2. Medical Malpractice
  3. Personal Injury
  4. Trust Litigation
  5. Trademarks
  6. Music Industry

He prides himself on the level of service he provides to each client. He personally handles every aspect of your case so you can feel confident that everything possible is being done to reach a favorable result. When you have questions, he responds to them himself. He will be there with you at every step and see your case through to its conclusion.

Mr. Rechsteiner is also a native of California where he has remained throughout his life.

Individuals with substantial assets are frequently establishing trusts in addition to or in place of a will. A trust is a document created for an individual or entity, known as a trustee, to manage the trustor's property.

Trusts can be created while the trustor is alive, known as an irrevocable or living trust. A revocable trust can also be established as a substitute for a will outlining how assets should be distributed when the trustor dies. Similar to a will, the validity of a trust may be contested. Trustees appointed to oversee the trust are sometimes sued for improper accounting and trust mismanagement. When trust disputes occur, contact the Law Office of Eric J. Rechsteiner, for experienced representation.



Offering Comprehensive Trust Litigation Services

The Law Office Eric J. Rechsteiner, Esq. has significant experience in trust litigation which includes litigating on behalf of large trust beneficiaries, as well as defending trust fiduciaries. We represent clients in a variety of trust actions, including:

  1. Trust contests
  2. Beneficiary claims
  3. Trust reformation
  4. Accounting of trust finances
  5. Breach of a fiduciary duty
  6. Trust misappropriation and mismanagement
  7. Questioning the validity of trusts with allegations of fraud, duress, undue influence, coercion, lack of capacity, proper trust formation, and diverting from the trustor's intent

Our law firm's trust contest attorneys in Redlands represent individual beneficiaries, charitable organizations, and educational institutions in a diverse range of actions related to trust litigation. We also represent individual and corporate trustees in complex trust-related disputes, including matters involving accounting and claims of trust mismanagement, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Contact Our Trust Litigation Attorneys

If you have an interest in a trust, as a beneficiary or a trustee, contact the Law Office of Eric J. Rechsteiner, Esq. to discuss your case. We will apply our experience level and legal skills focused on protecting your best interests. For more information on trust litigation, reference our estate and probate newsletter.