The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office divides all products and services into 45 “classes.” These trademark classes are purely administrative and do not affect the rights you receive with your federal trademark registration. They contain all of the products and services that might be offered in connection with a trademark. Since you will be required to assign a class with the products/services in your trademark application, it is helpful to know whether they fall into trademark Class 25 or not.
What Is Trademark Class 25?
Generally speaking, International Class 25 is used for clothing products. If you are registering trademarks associated with your clothing brand, then your application will likely need to include this class. Some of the wording you use to describe your products can be more broad (e.g. “footwear” and “headwear”). On the other hand, you cannot just use the word “clothing.” Instead, you would need to identify specific articles of clothing (e.g. “jackets,” “shirts,” “dresses”).
Examples of Class 25 Trademarks
You are likely already familiar with many trademarks that have been registered for clothing products in trademark Class 25. Some of these trademarks include:
- CALVIN KLEIN
- BANANA REPUBLIC
- OLD NAVY
- BROOKS BROTHERS
- VICTORIA’S SECRET
Clothing Products Outside of Class 25
Although the majority of clothing products fall into Class 25, there are several examples of clothing items that are in other classes for various reasons. Here are some examples where the clothing would fall into a different class:
- “Clothing for protection against accidents, irradiation, and fire” would fall into International Class 9. This class typically includes items worn for protection. Another example in this class would be “motorcycle helmets.”
- “Compression garments” and “surgical gowns” would fall into Class 10. This class includes medical products, which is why these types of clothing are found here.
- “Pet clothing” is found in International Class 18, not in class 25.
Usually when clothing is classified outside of trademark Class 25, it is because that clothing serves an usual purpose, as you can see based on these examples. However, regular clothing for wearing almost always falls into Class 25.
Trademark Classes With Related Products/Services
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about trademark registration is that the trademark classification and classes have much more importance than they actually do. Instead, the classes are a tool used by the Trademark Office to make its job easier.
One of the places that I see this misconception do the most damage is during the trademark search process. If you are conducting a search and you are in the clothing field, that does not mean that all potential conflicts are in Class 25. Your mark could be likely to cause confusion with another trademark that is not for clothing. Here are some products and services that are strongly related to clothing and their respective class numbers (keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list):
- International Class 14: Jewelry
- International Class 18: Handbags; Purses
- International Class 35: Retail and online retail store services featuring clothing
Again, this is far from a comprehensive list. Since clothing is such a ubiquitous product, it can be found to be related to a number of products/services you might not have thought about. For examples, HOOTERS is a registered trademark for restaurant services and clothing. BUD LIGHT is registered for both beer and clothing. You can never be too careful when conducting a trademark search for clothing because so many products and services have been found to be related to clothing products.
Trademark Registration in Class 25
In addition to the issues with searching for clothing trademarks, the registration process also includes additional “wrinkles” (pun very much intended). Before filing an application for trademark Class 25, Applicants need to determine whether they intend to use a word/phrase to create a clothing brand, or whether they will use the word/phrase ornamentally. Putting a word or phrase on the front of a t-shirt does not create the impression of a brand. That is not a trademark use, and will be rejected by the Trademark Office.
Consumers purchasing clothing items have certain expectations about where to find the brand name. Typically it is found inside the collar of a shirt, or on a sticker or hangtag affixed to the clothing item. If you are not planning on making a clear trademark use of your word/phrase, you may need to reconsider whether a trademark registration makes sense in your case.
Seeking Assistance For Your Trademark Class 25 Application?
Regardless of the class your products/services fall into, you should work with an experienced trademark professional that will give you the best chance at successful registration. Please feel free to call me at (480) 360-3499, email me at email@example.com, or complete the contact form found on this page to schedule your free initial consultation today. I look forward to speaking with you.