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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
File your trademark registration applications through an online legal document service to reduce logistical challenges inherent in filing numerous applications.
Protect your mark from being diluted and overused. Once society commonly uses a mark to describe many products from various labels, it no longer qualifies for trademark registration or protection.
- Citizens Media Law Project: Securing Trademark Rights: Ownership and Federal Registration
- United States Patent and Trademark Office; Trademarks; What Is a Trademark or Service Mark?
- United States Patent and Trademark Office; Trademarks Process; Trademark Basics
- United States Patent and Trademark Office; U.S. Trademark Law; Rules of Practice and Federal Statutes
- GQ; Style; The Style Guy; Izod vs. Lacoste
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images