Brand Protection
3 mins

How to trademark a clothing brand

How to trademark a clothing brand
CHECK OUT THE TRADEMARK PROTECTION PLAN AVAILABLE FOR YOU

When you are working towards building your own clothing brand, it’s important to make sure your creations are always protected. As your clothing business expands, your name, and also your trademark will get closely linked to the design and function of your clothing products. It will also determine the popularity of your brand.

Without a trademark, you run the risk of competitors copying your brand name or logo, and your customers getting confused between your brand name and others. For the money and effort you put into marketing your brand, you don’t want other businesses to ride on your success. 

While trademarking can seem like a complicated process, it’s a necessary one. 

Here’s everything we discuss in this article: 

  • Why trademark your clothing brand?
  • The steps to file for a trademark 
  • How Red Points can help protect your trademark

Why Should I Trademark my Clothing Brand?

Your brand name, logo, tagline and other aspects are the main identifiers for your clothing business. For a clothing brand to remain identifiable and recognizable by their customers, it’s important to have a unique and well-protected trademark. 

For instance, Gucci has a trademark for its signature green-red-green stripes. While anyone can use the red color or the green color on their clothing, they cannot use the exact combination of the colors that Gucci has trademarked. 

Similarly, Nike has trademarked its brand logo – a swoosh sign, which helps set the company apart from its competitors. While any brand can make a black sweatshirt, they cannot make one with Nike’s trademark on it.

Moreover, not obtaining intellectual property protection early on can cause you to rebrand your business later if it’s too similar to an existing brand name or logo – all of which can be incredibly expensive and disruptive for your business. 

Here are the different aspects of your business that can be registered as a trademark:

  • Brand/ business name
  • Product name
  • Name of a person
  • Logo or symbols 
  • Tagline
  • Sound mark 
  • 3D shapes of products (only applicable if your product design is unique)

Steps to file for trademark

1- Select a brand name and logo

The first step you need to take is finalize the brand name for your clothing business and choose a logo that fits your brand aesthetic. The best way to make this choice is through the advice of an intellectual property attorney who can assess your specific circumstances and suggest an adequate protection strategy. Make sure that the name is distinctive and doesn’t sound too familiar to an existing company in the same niche as you. The best trademarks are the ones that are fanciful and arbitrary at the same time.

2- Scan the USPTO database

The next step is to scan the USPTO database to ensure no other business has a similar or same trademark as you. It’s possible to search the online database to see if there are any existing trademarks similar to yours. 

3- Select the basis of filing

Now, you need to file an application for a mark that you have been already using for your business or you intend to use. In case you are filing for a trademark that you intend to use then you will be required to provide further evidence of the actual use of the trademark before the USPTO can issue you a registration for it. 

It’s important to note that while you can start applying your trademark on clothes before you get a formal trademark registration, you need to identify the date of when you first began using the trademark and mention the same in your application. 

You can use the TMsign with your trademark to claim it as yours, but you can only use the registered R sign with a circle around it after the USPTO has granted you the registration.

4- File your trademark application online

You can submit the trademark application online through the USPTO website. There is one initial form with two types of filing options: 

  • The TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System) standard filing option which has considerably fewer requirements that you need to follow, but you need to meet all of the requirements present and at the same time, pay a higher fee per class.
  • The TEAS plus option has more upfront requirements but you may not be required to follow all of them. You also have to pay a lower fee per class 

The time it takes to receive a response can vary from case to case. On an average, it can take about 2-7 months to get a response. You can check for the current application waiting time before applying to get a fair idea of when to expect a response. 

How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Clothing Brand?

The cost of filing a trademark application can be on the higher side if you need to protect multiple uses for your trademark. For instance, you may want to trademark your brand name along with your brand logo to be used on your clothes. If you want to trademark unique color schemes or graphics for your brand’s clothes, you will have to file a trademark application for them separately. 

Filing with TEAS plus, you will have to pay $250 as filing fee for every service/good. If you are filing the TEAS standard, you will have to pay $350 for every service/good. 

What’s next

Filing a trademark for your clothing brand is just the first step of a long battle. A trademark does not help actively avoid counterfeits or brand impersonations. Instead, it provides you with legal protection and helps you legally shut down scammers trying to copy your brand and its products. 

Red Points’ Revenue Recovery software can automatically monitor, detect, and take down product listings that try to infringe on your trademark in any way. The software scans the internet 24/7 and takes action as soon as an infringement is detected so that you can be stress free and focus on what matters the most – building your clothing brand.

See how you can protect your trademark with Red Points effectively.

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