Q: Do I need to trademark my brand and logo
I am starting a clothing and accessory brand and am curious on how/if I need to trademark my brand name and logo
Note: I'm a business attorney, not a trademark attorney. Here is generally what I tell people starting up a new business or entering into a new line of business that involves trademarks.
When you ask if you need to "trademark" your brand name and logo, what you are really asking is whether you should register your trademark. Registration is not required to establish trademark rights. Trademark rights begin the first time you use the trademark in interstate commerce.
That said, registration provides additional benefits with respect to your ability to enforce your rights. It can also give you broader rights that you don't necessarily acquire the first time you use the mark in interstate commerce. In addition, the process of registering the trademark will give you more assurance that the trademark does not infringe another person's trademark, a risk you run if you just start using the trademark without running a thorough search.
Ultimately, the decision involves a mixture of business and legal considerations, and you should consult an attorney who regularly practices in the area of trademarks for advice. Given that branding is everything in retail clothing and accessories, I suspect you will end up registering, but talk to a trademark lawyer before you decide. By the way, I also recommend against trying to do the registration yourself. Let your attorney do that for you.
Your brand and logo IS a trademark, and before using it in commerce you should first make sure it is not the same as (or confusingly similar to) a registered trademark for the same type of goods, because If it is, you could be sued for trademark infringement by the prior registered trademark owner.
Consult a qualified trademark attorney to assure that your proposed mark does not infringe an existing registration, to advise how the mark should be used, and to apply for registration with the US Patent & Trademark Office.
It is generally recommended to (1) conduct a trademark search / due diligence (to make sure your new brand and logo are not infringing upon any existing rights) and (2) apply to register the new brand as a federal trademark in order to protect it nationwide against unscrupulous competitors. A U.S. federal trademark registration provides many significant legal presumptions and other benefits to the mark's owner and significantly enhances brand protection. Logos can be registered as trademarks as well.
To register a trademark, an application needs to be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"), which is a federal agency responsible for accepting and examining trademark applications and issuing registration certificates.
A proper trademark search and trademark application involve many legal requirements and technicalities. To ensure that your new brand and logo do not infringe upon anyone's rights and to properly register them as trademarks, you should consult an experienced trademark attorney who will be able to guide your through the process and help you avoid pitfalls...
This information was provided for general informational purposes only. It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. I am not your lawyer. If you need an experienced trademark lawyer, please contact my office directly.
A: The short answer is you may be able to register either or both. If you are considering registering though, you really should take the time to consult with a trademark attorney. Clothing is a very competitive class to get your mark registered in and the assistance of an attorney, along with a comprehensive clearance search, would likely save you time and resources during the registration process.
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