International Class 25 is a very commonly claimed Class in trademark registration applications.
This is because Class 25 is the International Class used for clothing and other wearing apparel products and goods.
T-shirt and other clothing start-ups have become increasingly popular with the advent of e-commerce platforms. Logging into Facebook at any given time, for example, will result in the display of a dozen different t-shirt or beach-wear advertisements scrolling by.
Wearing apparel and fashion products are fun to design, easier and easier to have manufactured with private label tagging, and relatively inexpensive to produce on demand. Television shows like Project Runway and Making the Cut have been must-see programs for years.
Technology has made fashion design and sales accessible to the world at large.
Trademark registrations in Class 25 have, therefore, increased along with industry popularity.
But what are International Classes?
International Classes Explained
International Classes (or “ICs”) are used by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to sub-divide all of the possible goods and services sold. That is, the Class system groups the products and services sold in the US into different types.
If you file a trademark registration application, you must file the application in 1 or more of these Classes. There are 45 such Classes. The first 34 of them are for products, while the remaining 11 are for services (such as our own trademark legal services).
They are “International” Classes because they confirm to a system of categorization used globally and not just in the United States.
The USPTO charges a filing fee based on the number of Classes in which you file your trademark registration application.
For example, if you file for Class 25, or any other Class, alone, you will pay $350 (as of this writing) to the USPTO as a filing fee if you are not simply using pro forma descriptions for your clothing or fashion product. However, if you file in Class 25 and also Class 35 (retail or business services) because you plan to open your own retail storefront or e-commerce site to sell your clothing, you will pay $700 to file your application.
Note that this is the government filing fee only and does not include the fees charged by your Michigan trademark attorney.
International Classes and the Use in Commerce Requirement
Trademark law requires you to specify the goods or services your trademark represents in US commerce. The USPTO will not register your Class 25 trademark unless it is used in interstate commerce.
This “use in commerce” requirement exists because the Federal government only has the jurisdiction to offer the benefits afforded by trademark registration if the owner is using the mark in commerce across state lines.
Because, under the “Commerce Clause” of the US Constitution, the Federal government only has jurisdiction over commerce when it crosses a state line. If a commercial transaction does not do that, it is within the jurisdiction only of the state in which the transaction occurs, whether it is Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, or any other state.
You must display the trademark in association with the specific product or service specified in your Registration Certificate.
The International Classes system exists to organize the many products or services that trademarks represent.
If you’re not sure whether your clothing, shoe, or fashion product fits into Class 25 or any other Class, you likely need to consult an experienced Michigan trademark attorney to ensure that you meet the “use in commerce” requirement.
Class 25 and the Likelihood of Confusion with Other Fashion Trademarks
The trademark Class system also exists for the administrative convenience of the USPTO Examiners who must determine whether your trademark application is likely to confuse consumers.
That is, one of the key questions regarding your trademark application will be whether it conflicts with any previously registered clothing, wearing apparel, or fashion product brand.
It is worth noting here that the purpose of trademark registration in the United States is, ultimately, consumer protection. It is not simply to allow your fashion or clothing company to sue infringing users of your Class 25 trademark in Federal Court (although that is certainly one of the benefits).
From the government’s point of view, the purpose is to ensure that consumers buying clothing or fashion products in interstate commerce know what they are buying and from whom.
If they buy a pair of shoes or a blouse from an e-commerce sales platform, the US governments wants to the consumer to know that, when they see the “®” registered trademark symbol next to your brand name on the garment’s hang tag, they have bought a legitimate product. From you. Not from some foreign knock-off mill.
Thus, if you list Class 25 on your application, the USPTO Examiner assigned to your file will review all other marks registered in Class 25 (and related classes, including Class 35 for retail or business services.)
The International Class system helps USPTO Examiners determine if fashion product consumers will mistake your trademark for anyone else’s.
What Products Are Included in Class 25?
Class 25 is a product Class and not a service Class. It is for Clothing, generally.
This includes all wearable clothing, including footwear and headgear, except for certain sub-varieties designed for special use. (Think medical orthopedic shoes.)
“Clothing” is a very broad categorization, obviously. The USPTO will require you to be much more specific about the type of clothing you sell.
You will need to specify whether your registration includes swimwear, formal wear, bridal wear, underwear, athletic wear or sports-specific clothing, bath robes, top hats, hijab, children’s play clothing, and so on and so on.
If you simply list “women’s clothing,” for example, in your trademark registration application under Class 25, you will likely receive an Office Action refusal from your Examiner on the basis that this is not specific enough.
There are many clothing brands floating around US commerce … The USPTO will want to ensure that you are not confusing consumers interested in the products of any other Class 25 registrant before it will approve your application.
Trademark Class 25: Ask a Metro Detroit Trademark Attorney for Help
Thus, if you are start-up or experienced fashion designer or clothing or shoe company launching a new enterprise or a new brand, your best shot at registering your trademark under Class 25 is to retain an experienced trademark attorney—whether you are located in Michigan or elsewhere in the United States.
Noble Path Trademark Law is a boutique US law practice located in Metro Detroit and assisting entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, artists, musicians, start-ups, and larger enterprises with robust intellectual property portfolios, and others in all industries and in all states with trademark registration, trademark renewal, trademark monitoring, and Office Action refusal response matters.
We offer virtual consultations, premium customer service, and the expertise you need to maximize your odds of trademark registration success.