In order to apply for a trademark in the United States, you’ll need to know which specific trademark class your name or logo falls under.
These 45 unique classes exist to help regulate infringement cases within particular industries.
They can also help businesses determine their rights as trademark holders by providing a groundwork for likelihood of confusion cases.
For this reason, choosing the correct trademark class to file under is of the upmost importance when registering your mark with the USPTO.
In this article, we’ll talk about Class 25 trademark goods. This trademark class includes most kinds of registrable clothing types.
Should I Apply for a Class 25 Trademark?
As you may already know, US law makes clothing designs notoriously difficult to patent.
For that reason, many people interested in fashion assume that they also shouldn’t apply for trademarks related to their brands.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Part of the confusion stems from the terms being used.
While patents typically protect the designs of new products, trademarks are meant to protect branding and distinguishing features.
Put another way, while it might be hard to patent a particular piece of clothing, you can still trademark the actual branding you put on that clothing (names, logos, etc.).
If other companies sell products with logos, slogans, or other marks that are too similar to your own, they may be committing trademark infringement.
However, trademarks only protect your company from infringement within the same class.
A Class 25 trademark, in other words, will only protect you from infringement by other clothing companies.
That’s why it’s so important to choose the correct class when applying for a trademark.
Note that in certain cases you can apply under multiple trademark classes. However, this is more expensive than applying in a single class.
Additionally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices (USPTO) rejects applications that fail to justify their choice of classes.
What Are Class 25 Trademark Goods?
In general, Trademark Class 25 applies to brands which sell clothing.
This includes any businesses that sell uniforms, costumes, swimwear, and all types of footwear.
Packaging for clothing is also covered under trademark Class 25 and doesn’t need to be applied for separately.
What Class 25 Doesn’t Cover
There are a few types of clothing-related products that aren’t Class 25 trademark goods.
Branding related to the following products does not fall under Trademark Class 25:
- Jewelry, including costume jewelry, generally falls under Class 14 (jewelry).
- Threads, fabrics, and other raw materials generally fall into either Class 23 (yarns and threads) or Class 24 (textiles).
- Certain lace materials, as well as shoelaces, falls into Class 26 (lace and embroidery).
Finally, services related to clothing (such as tailoring services) fall into one of the service classes (35-45), depending on their clientele.
This includes custom printing services, which are most often Class 35 services.
What if Someone Else Has a Similar Trademark?
Before you apply, it’s important to check your trademark against the USPTO’s free online trademark database.
The USPTO rejects applications for trademarks that infringe on those already in the database.
However, as we’ve said, this depends on trademark class.
You only need to worry about your trademark being too similar to other marks in the same general sector.
So what should you do if you find a trademark that seems similar to your own?
Unfortunately, the USPTO does not offer guidance or advice prior to filing. Instead, you’ll likely want to contact a trademark lawyer.
As you can see, the benefits to applying for a trademark outweigh the costs for just about any brand. This is doubly true in the clothing sector, where other forms of legal protection are hard to come by.
That being said, you should strongly consider getting in touch with a lawyer before submitting your application. By doing so, you’ll protect your brand and prevent intellectual property issues down the line.