How to Trademark a Clothing Label

By Victoria McGrath

A clothing label builds its reputation based on its name, logo and designs. The clothing label must choose a name that will easily become a recognizable trademark. Both the name and logo function as trademarks to identify the clothing label's products and distinguish them from those offered by other clothing labels. The name and logo often work together, as we often see with top fashion designer brands and labels. A strong name and logo need to be protected from both trademark infringement and being diluted. Both federal and state registration provide trademark protections.

A clothing label builds its reputation based on its name, logo and designs. The clothing label must choose a name that will easily become a recognizable trademark. Both the name and logo function as trademarks to identify the clothing label's products and distinguish them from those offered by other clothing labels. The name and logo often work together, as we often see with top fashion designer brands and labels. A strong name and logo need to be protected from both trademark infringement and being diluted. Both federal and state registration provide trademark protections.

Step 1

Choose a name for the clothing label. Compile a list of other clothing label names from trade shows and industry directories. Compare your name to other clothing labels. Rule out any names that are too similar to any other label names.

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Step 2

Research all business names online. Search state and federal trademark registration databases for similar names. Make a list of similar names and registered trademark names. Survey prospective consumers to determine if they might be confused between your business name and other similar names.

Step 3

Adopt your unique clothing label name and logo. Avoid generic, merely descriptive surnames or regional names. Use your label name to create a stylized mark. A stylized mark includes a select type of font, size and color. Create a unique logo as a complement to the name.

Step 4

Place the clothing label name and logo on the clothing products. Create product samples, catalogs and web pages. Offer the products for commercial trade across a wide geographical range. Sell the products over the Internet for the widest geographic distribution. Use of the mark in commerce creates "common law" trademark rights prior to registration.

Step 5

Register the name and logo as trademarks at the state level. Complete a state registration application in each state where the trademarks will be heavily used. Submit the applications online or in person. The online registration may provide an electronic registration confirmation and email notifications.

Step 6

Register the name and logo as trademarks at the federal level. Complete separate federal trademark registration applications for the name and the logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Describe the stylized marks and include design sketches with the application.

Step 7

Submit the application online or by mail. Provide a sample of the mark as associated with the product. Include a specimen for each type of good offered. Sign a sworn affidavit of ownership rights and pay the applicable filing fee.

Step 8

Protect the label name and logo from unauthorized use and trademark infringement. Continuously use the marks on the goods and offer them for sale in commerce to prevent another label from adopting your mark during a hiatus. Renew your trademarks every 10 years.

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How to Get a Trademark for a Comic Book Superhero Character

References

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How to Trademark a Name in Michigan

Your trademark name distinguishes the products you offer in the marketplace from your competitors' products. You can establish trademark rights in your brand name in three different ways -- through common law usage, state registration and federal registration. Under common law, you automatically acquire basic trademark rights once you use your unique brand name in association with your goods offered in commercial trade. For state registration in Michigan, you register your trademark through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The registration confirms your claim of ownership over the trademark name within the state. Optional federal trademark registration, through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, offers exclusive rights to use the trademark throughout the United States.

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A trademark demonstrates the exclusive right to use a specific mark in trade or commerce. The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a mark as a symbol, design, word or name or any combination thereof. Although the right to use a trademarked name is established through legitimate use in business, national registration provides additional benefits such as the right to bring legal action against unauthorized use of the name.

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