How To Register A Trademark For A Clothing Brand

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There are three major steps you must follow in order to get a trademark registered for your clothing brand.

1. Conduct a full clearance search.

The first step in the trademark process for protecting clothing brands is to conduct a full clearance search on your mark. By properly clearing a trademark before filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you can save a lot of time and money. Unfortunately, this is a highly overlooked item.

Because it’s a relatively easy industry to start a business in, there are more trademark applications filed for clothing brands than just about any other type of product or service. It’s an incredibly crowded space, so it can be difficult to get a trademark approved within it due to so many other potentially similar marks. As a result of this, it’s important to ensure you properly check the marketplace before trying to pursue a trademark registration.

If you go online and do a trademark search yourself, you are likely only going to be looking for identical matches. If you hire an attorney, on the other hand, they will be able to look for phonetically similar marks, marks with a parallel meaning, and even marks that are just spelled a bit differently. Attorneys have access to powerful software tools that are not available for public use, so they are able to do more rigorous clearance searches.

2. File a USPTO trademark application.

Once your full clearance search is complete, the second step is to file your trademark application with the USPTO.

When filing an application for a clothing brand, you are typically looking to file in two different classes of goods or services.

A) Class 2: Clothing

The first is Class 25, which is the USPTO’s category for clothing. When filing under this class, it’s important to understand that you must list each individual item you intend to sell.

For example, you cannot just put down clothing or sports apparel. You need to write out all items, such as shirts, pants, jackets, hats, etc.

If you only include a broad claim to clothing, the government will refuse your application initially and require further clarification.

It's very important not to put too many individual items in there, however, because you will need to prove that you're selling all of them before your trademark can actually register.

B) Class 35: Online retail store

The second class that many clothing brands consider filing in is Class 35. This class is for an online retail store that sells clothing.

If you have your X, Y, Z brand of clothing and you're selling it on (an online retail site), you can also qualify for protection in this additional class.

By filing your clothing brand application in both Class 25 and Class 35, you will receive about as broad a protection as you can from the USPTO.

3. Provide proof you are selling clothing across state lines.

The final step is providing proof that you are actually selling your clothing across state lines.

Before your trademark registers, you must have actual use in commerce of your trademark. Sales to your local community or town are typically not sufficient, because trademark rules require that you do business in more than one state in order to have a federal registration.

Be sure to include you trademark on the labeling or tagging of your clothing to ensure that it qualifies as use in the marketplace. You cannot just put a trademark on the front of a shirt or a hat and call that a trademark use.
When the government comes across a specimen like that, they will not approve it.

As a quick recap, if you are planning to register a clothing brand, there are three critical steps you need to follow. One, you must conduct a full clearance search of your trademark. Two, you must file your trademark application in Class 25, and potentially Class 35. And, finally, you are required to prove you are selling your clothing across state lines and that you are including your trademark on tags or labels.

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