How to register a trademark for Fashion and Apparel


Trademarks help you to protect your brand, but they’re also an important part of doing business. If you sell fashion or apparel, it’s important that you know how to register and keep your trademarks intact—not only for yourself but also for other entrepreneurs who may want to start selling their products too!

Before you get started

Before you register a trademark for your fashion and apparel business, there are a few things you should do first:

  • Make sure you have a business plan. A good plan will help guide you as you move forward with the process of obtaining your trademark.
  • Ensure that you have a budget in place so that when it comes time to file fees, they won’t be too much of a surprise.
  • Get legal advice from an attorney who specializes in trademarks and understand what options are available to protect your brand name and logo.
  • Create marketing materials including brochures or flyers with graphics representative of what consumers expect from your market segmentation strategy which can be used for advertising purposes once the registration is approved by the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office).

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies the source of a product or service. A trademark can be a name, word, phrase, symbol, design, image, sound or scent used in commerce to distinguish the goods/services of one company from those of others.

In order to register your trademark you will need to provide descriptions of your products and services so that they can be differentiated from other similar trademarks being registered.

Trademarks vs. copyrights and patents

Trademarks and Copyrights

Trademarks: Trademarks protect brand names, logos, slogans and other identifiers used in commerce. These are the “dancing baby” that used to appear in ads for Mattel toys.

Copyrights: Copyrights protect creative works like books, movies, music and computer software.

Patents: Patents protect inventions such as new machines or chemical formulas.

What can’t be trademarked?

  • Words, phrases, symbols and designs that are purely functional cannot be registered as trademarks. For example the name of a product (e.g., “Nike tennis racquets” or “Superman comics”), an apparatus used in a manufacturing process (e.g., “Coca-Cola vending machine”), a shape that is necessary for efficient use of the article (e.g., “VCR” or “rectangular bottle shape”), or a word that describes only the material from which an article is made (e.g., “metal watch”).
  • In addition to being exclusively functional, words and phrases must also be incapable of becoming distinctive through use in order to qualify as protectable trademarks. This requirement is called acquired distinctiveness (or secondary meaning) and is often referred to as “acquired distinctiveness theory.” If you believe that your mark would satisfy this requirement then you can file for trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

How to search for an existing trademark

Search the USPTO database:

  • To search the USPTO database, you need to do it on the USPTO website, or at least have access to a computer connected to the internet.
  • After you’ve done this, go ahead and type in “US trademark” into the search bar on their home page. This will take you directly to their main page where you can start searching for trademarks by typing in keywords such as “fashion” or “apparel” (or whatever else) into their search bar and clicking on “Search trademarks” next to it—that way only results relevant for your query will appear!

File an application with the USPTO

To file an application with the USPTO, you can either do it yourself or hire an attorney. The USPTO provides several options for both methods:

  • File online.
  • Mail in your application by mail using a paper-based form.
  • Hire a trademark attorney to help you complete and submit your application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

After filing your application

After filing your application, you must respond to any office actions from the USPTO. Responses may include amending your trademark application or appealing a decision. If you do not file either of these responses within six months of receiving an office action, your application will be abandoned and considered abandoned by the USPTO.

Keep your profits intact by protecting your brand from copycats.

You’ve put your heart and soul into creating the perfect clothing line. Now, you’re ready to build a business around it. But before you do, there are some important steps that you need to take.

You’ll want to first make sure that no one else has already registered the name of your brand or any similar names as trademarks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO is responsible for issuing trademark rights, so checking their database will give you an idea about how likely it is that someone else will try to claim your mark later on down the road—and whether or not they would have grounds for doing so.


With so much to do and keep track of, it can be difficult to know where to start. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! This article has given you an overview of what trademarks are and how they work, along with some tips on how to apply for one. We hope that now that we’ve explained the basics, you feel more confident in your ability to protect your brand. If there is any additional information that we could provide as part of this blog post please let us know at

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