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.

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.

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.

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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

Related articles

Trademark vs. Service Mark

Trademarks and service marks serve essentially the same purpose, but there are slight differences in how they're applied and communicated to your market. Both are administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This agency processes registrations for trademarks as well as service marks. Registration isn't mandatory, but it provides additional legal protection in certain situations.

How To Trademark Something

A trademark is a mark, symbol or combination of words that distinctively identifies a product or service -- McDonald's Golden Arches, for example. Trademarks have economic value because they represent the business reputation of the products they represent or the company with which they are identified. Registration of your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allows you to obtain nationwide protection, sue in federal courts and qualify for international protection.

How to Start a Clothing Brand With a Trademark & Copyrights

A clothing brand starts with a unique name, creative logo and catchy slogan. The brand name, logo and slogan serve as trademarks. Trademarks help identify the clothing brand's products and distinguish them from its competitors. The brand may also trademark other distinguishing features that help identify its products in the marketplace. For example, Tiffany's blue color jewelry boxes or Louboutin's red shoe soles qualify as trademark features. Other unique design elements beyond merely functional features may qualify for copyrights. A clothing brand may copyright clothing designs, patterns, artwork and other creative work. As a result, a brand often depends on both trademarks and copyrights to protect its clothing line, products and designs.

File a Trademark Online. LegalZoom. Learn More. Trademarks

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