How To Trademark a Phrase for a T-Shirt? Find Out With DoNotPay
Is it possible to trademark a T-shirt design? Perhaps, if you fulfill the designated trademark requirements. In this article, we explain how to trademark a phrase for a T-Shirt and file for registration fast using DoNotPay.
- Protect original ideas, and other forms of intellectual property
- Identify the source of the goods and the provider of services
- Ensure brand recognition in the marketplace
As a small business owner, you can use any kind of signifier as your trademark, including:
- Names ( this refers to anything from domain names and usernames to business names and band names)
- Logos (and designs)
- Pictures and artwork
- Words or slogans
- Original characters
If you want to make promotional materials (e.g., a T-Shirt) containing your trademark, you are entitled to do so. Problems may arise if you only intend to apply the phrase to a single T-Shirt. The legal basis for these limitations are listed in the table below:
|Grounds for Rejection||Explanation|
|Insufficient proof of use||When registering a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you must provide credible evidence of use. You need to specify:
If you only want to trademark a single phrase on a specific T-shirt, your petition will be invalid
|Ornamental refusal||If the USPTO concludes the phrase does not reference your brand but serves as mere decoration, they will reject your application|
It’s not impossible to work past the USPTO limitations and prove a particular phrase or slogan can function as a trademark—even if you have not used it in that capacity before. You will have to convince the USPTO that the phrase is distinctive to your brand and demonstrate your intent to use it (i.e., how you plan on applying it to the T-Shirt).
Some possible solutions for trademarking a slogan for a T-Shirt include:
- Writing the phrase on the labels and tags of the T-Shirt
- Asking your clients and dealers to compose a statement claiming they associate it with your brand
- Applying the slogan to your other goods
- Including the phrase in advertisements, promotional material, etc.
- Local—Following the common law rights, your trademark ownership is effective after you start using it without needing to register. The protection is limited to the geographical area your business is located in
- State—The state trademark protection laws safeguard your brand from potential infringement, but only within state lines
- Federal—If you want the USPTO to add your trademark to the federal database, you should apply for federal protection. You can then forward your registration certificate to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and prevent the importation of counterfeit goods
- International—It is also possible to protect your brand outside the U.S. territory by applying for registration under the Madrid Protocol. The international treaty was signed by over a hundred countries
Once you have chosen the registration level, you can start the process with the USPTO. All registrations are filed online via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
Finally, complete these steps to successfully register your trademark:
- Search the USPTO database to make sure the phrase or slogan isn’t already registered as someone else’s trademark
- Sort your goods and services in the designated trademark classes
- Select a TEAS filing option
- Complete the trademark application form and provide the following information:
- Your name
- Contact information
- Trademark type
- Trademark specimen
- Proof of paid fees
Keep in mind you will have to pay the registration fees upfront. The USPTO will charge you separately for each trademark class you have listed in the application form. Currently, the two pricing options are:
- $350 per class for using the TEAS Standard form
- $250 per class for applying with the TEAS Plus form
The prices are fixed, and how much you will pay depends on the number of classes you register your mark under..
Some additional expenses would include flat attorney fees if you hired a lawyer to handle the procedure. Apart from the initial cost, you will also have to prevent the trademark from expiring by applying for renewal every few years.
No matter the size of your business, having a trademark is a necessity. Whether you put it on a T-Shirt or print it on a calling card, you need to take the steps to protect it from infringement. With DoNotPay’s Trademark Registration product, you can ensure the safety of your unique brand by completing a few easy-to-follow steps.
All you have to do is:
- Sign up for DoNotPay
- Choose the Trademark Registration product
- Tell us about your brand and describe what type of trademark you are registering
- Verify that you agree to pay the application fees
DoNotPay will proceed to generate the trademark registration form using the information you have provided. Once you have e-signed the document, we will refer it to the USPTO to initiate the registration.
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Some of the small-business-related matters we can help you with are:
- Registering your business name, logo, or slogan as a trademark
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