Intellectual property applicable to a new Clothing Line design may include trademark protection, copyright, and/or a patent(s):
For the name, logo, or graphic that identifies and distinguishes your line from others. You can and should use TM next to or in close proximity to your mark upon initial use. TM simply means that you claim a common law right to the mark, which by virtue of your use you have a right to claim.
Use of ® is strictly prohibited until your application is completely approved and your mark is registered at the United States Trademark Office. In fact, improper use of ® is illegal and can be punishable by law. In addition, improper use can adversely affect trademark rights and registerability of a mark.
NOTE: The trademark must be used consistently to identify the clothing line verses some short phrase, slogan and/or graphic printed on a garment or T-shirt for the purpose of making a statement. First step is to identify your mark, its goods or service description, and learn common mistakes in selecting a mark, see Trademark Information and Trademark Goods Services Description. Second step is to perform a Trademark Search, see Trademark Search Instructions on How to Perform a Search as part of the Inventor Start Kit.
If you have a drawing or a pattern showing the design of your garment or a photograph of garment these can be the basis of a copyright application. As a reminder, you should always include a copyright notice on all copies of your work (garment design), fixed on paper or in an electronic form, such as © 200_ Full Name/Company Name. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Note: If multiple authors are contributing to a work (garment) and a single person or entity desires to own the collective work then the parties must transfer their rights to the single person or entity via an assignment/work-made-for-hire agreement; otherwise, each contributor is owed a ratable share of the profits realized from use, license or sale of the work.
If your garment design is a new and non-obvious garment design (article of manufacture) it may qualify for protection under a design patent.
Mat Grell, U.S. Patent Attorney - Founder of The Inventor Start Kit, a simple step-by-step process that helps inventors protect their ideas and get them to the marketplace... to hopefully make millions! Visit Mat's site: http://www.inventorstartkit.com/