Kansas City, MO asked in Copyright, Business Formation and Trademark for Kansas

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

4 Lawyer Answers
Michael Ray Smith

A: 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.

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: 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.

Sergiy M Sivochek
Sergiy M Sivochek
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA

A: 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.

Matthew Alexander Toporek
Matthew Alexander Toporek
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Charleston, SC

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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.