4 Steps to Protect a Streetwear Brand Trade Mark
For many businesses, branding is the ultimate key to success. This is particularly true for fashion brands, where branding is inherently linked to your reputation and popularity. To protect your streetwear brand, it is important that your competitors do not use your brand for their own benefit. One way that you can protect your brand is by registering a trade mark for your brand assets. This article will guide you through the four key steps required to obtain a trade mark for your streetwear brand.
1. Choose Your Trade Marks
Before registering a trade mark for your streetwear brand, you will need to decide what trade mark you wish to register. You can obtain trade mark registrations for a number of brand assets, with the most relevant to your streetwear brand likely being your:
- business name;
- slogan; or
- combination of the above.
Further to the above, your trade mark might even be your brand song or colours.
Once you have decided on the form your trade mark will take, you should ensure it is eligible for trade mark registration. This includes ensuring it does not use any inappropriate or forbidden words or phrases.
2. Select Your Trade Mark Classes
Once you have decided on the trade marks you will use for your streetwear brand, you must select the relevant trade mark classes. These trade mark classes refer to the different categories of products or services available for trade mark registration.
The Nice classification system divides trade marks into 45 categories, comprising 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services. Your trade mark will only be protected under the classes you apply for registration under, so you should be confident in the trade mark classes you select.
There are a range of different trade mark classes you might wish to consider for a streetwear brand. Some of the classes that might be relevant to you include:
|Trade mark class||Classification|
|18||Bags, leather and imitations of leather|
|25||Clothing, shoes and hats|
|26||Clothing accessories, such as buttons and ribbons|
|35||Advertising and business management, including retailing others’ clothing|
|42||Technological services and research and design, including clothing design|
To determine the most appropriate trade mark classes for your streetwear brand, you should carefully search the trade mark class options available for registration.
3. Conduct a Trade Mark Search
After selecting the best trade mark and most relevant classes for your streetwear brand, you will need to ensure that your trade mark is available for use. You can do this by conducting a trade mark search using ATMOSS, IP Australia’s free trade mark search tool.
You should check that your trade mark is not identical or similar to any existing trade marks. If your trade mark is likely to lead to consumer confusion because of its similarity to another trade mark, it will likely not be approved for registration.
4. Apply for Registration
Once you have selected your trade mark and find it available for use, you will need to register through IP Australia. In addition to providing your contact details, you will need to provide a representation of your proposed trade mark for IP Australia to assess against the legislative requirements. At this stage, you must also pay the relevant filing fee. The cost of this filing fee will depend on an array of factors, such as how many trade mark classes you select.
If your trade mark meets the legislative requirements and is not confusingly similar to anyone else’s trade mark, IP Australia will place your trade mark on the trade mark register.
Other IP Considerations
In addition to registering a trade mark for your streetwear brand, there is a range of other intellectual property (IP) considerations for fashion brands.
For example, if your brand is unique enough to constitute an ‘artistic work’, it will be granted automatic copyright protection. However, it is important to consider that where a design is an artistic work, it may lose its copyright protection once you commercially manufacture it, meaning that you have produced more than 50 articles of the design.
Similarly, design law may protect your brand, which must be registered. IP Australia also handles design registrations. However, design protection is only available where your design is new and distinctive, which is quite a high threshold.
You should seek professional advice to consider all IP protection options for your streetwear brand.
A trade mark is an excellent way to protect your streetwear brand and prevent unauthorised use of your brand elements. The key steps to registering a trade mark for your streetwear brand include:
- choosing your trade marks;
- selecting your trade mark classes;
- conducting a trade mark search; and
- applying for trade mark registration.
If you need assistance registering a trade mark for your streetwear brand, our experienced trade mark lawyers can help. You can get in touch with them on 1300 657 423 or by filling out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Trade mark registration formally protects your trade mark on a trade mark register. With trade mark registration, you have enforcement rights over your trade mark, meaning you can take legal action against anyone who uses your trade mark without your consent. This is particularly important for fashion brands, where reputation is intrinsically linked with originality.
The essential steps for registering a trade mark include choosing the brand asset you wish to register a trade mark for, selecting the relevant trade mark classes, conducting a trade mark search and applying for trade mark registration.