How to Trademark Your Shirt Design

To trademark your T-shirt design is essential and should be handled with attention to details!  Please proceed with caution and put your best foot forward when it comes to trademarking your design.  While this will take work and effort, you’ll be glad you put the time in!

Here are a few best practices:

The Process:

The goal is to trademark your logo design.  There are a few things to know about this process.  The exclusionary rights go to the one who uses it first in a merchandise exchange.

The right to use the design depends on how far your sales “travel.”  In other words, if you sell your designed shirts in a state then you’ll have the exclusive right in that particular state.

Do Your Homework:

If you want to stand out and be noticed, then do your homework and lots of research.  Please be sure that you are ORIGINAL with your design.  This is truly essential for your brand and trademark.

Consider looking online and even search the US Patent Trademark Office online database for designs that yours may resemble.  Remember, you want to stand out rather than blend in or be mistaken for another brand.  Take great notes as you research and be sure you look at more than just your state.

Tell Everyone:

Now it’s time to let the public know about your latest and greatest trademarked design.  There are several steps.   First, register your design locally and then continue this process for any other state you plan to sell your design.

The basic steps to do this are to go to the secretary of state website to fill out the application, pay a fee and present your design.  This can get pricey but you’ll have officially given the public notice.

Time to Sell:

Officially, you can start selling and you should get on it immediately.  Spread the word to your area and beyond.  Always remember to save the receipt for your first sales per state.  This will show proof of first commerce.  Your trademark rights will apply in the states that you have sales.

The Next Level:

You’re now ready to go national.  Be thinking bigger and how you can expand your trademarked design.  At this point, you can go for a filing basis called “First Use.”  Simply put, this means that you are the first one to use the design for business purposes.

To conclude, these steps are all important.  The process will take some time but you’ll be glad you went through it.  Be sure to use a trademark symbol each time you use your design.