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Q: How do I find out if "Miami","Ivy League" or "as a clothing line is copywritten? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: How do I find out if "Miami","Ivy League" or "as a clothing line is copywritten?
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: johnstri-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2003 21:08 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2003 21:08 PDT
Question ID: 248776
How do I find out if "Miami", "Ivy League" or "Orchid" are copywriiten
as names for a clothing line?
Subject: Re: How do I find out if "Miami","Ivy League" or "as a clothing line is copywritten?
Answered By: byrd-ga on 26 Aug 2003 13:11 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Johnstri,

Great question!  To begin with, brand names such as you’re asking
about are not covered by copyrights, or by copyright law, but are
considered trademarks (or service marks in the case of a service
business) or just “marks.”  As such, they are covered by and protected
under trademark law.  For purposes of this answer, because of the
names you’re asking about, I’m assuming you’re located in the United
States and will answer accordingly, though many of the laws are
similar throughout the world.  If you’re not in the US, please let me
know in a request for clarification and I’ll do my best to locate
appropriate links for your specific location to supplement this

There are some interesting facets of this whole branding/brand-naming
process that are really necessary for you to be familiar with if
you’re going to successfully name your product or product line,
without infringing on someone else’s name or jeopardizing yours.

Surprisingly enough, there is no law that a trademark must be
registered in order for someone to use it, or to have rights to it. 
All a business needs to do to secure rights to a particular name is
simply to use it.  To have senior rights to it, they must be the first
to do so.  Additional rights may then be obtained by official
registration of the name, either locally as in filing a DBA (“doing
business as”) form with their county (check with your county clerk’s
office), or by registering with the Secretary of State (link below),
or nationally by registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(link below).  US registered trademark registrations are valid for ten
years and are indefinitely renewable, provided certain procedures are

Now this is where it all gets a bit more tricky.  Of course, in order
to legally register your name, you’ll need to do a search to find out,
as you already know, whether anyone else has beaten you to the punch
and is using that name.  This isn’t quite as easy as it might appear,
however, due to the lack of regulation about such names as outlined
above.  Such a search can and does involve not only checking official
records, like your county dba filings, or U.S. trademarks, but local
phone books, business directories, trade journals and the like, many
of which are not online, but will require a personal visit to an
office and/or purchasing of a directory.  But bear in mind that if a
name isn’t officially registered, then it is also not officially
protected, and so it may be possible for you to use it even if someone
else is doing so.  But be careful - there are exceptions, as for
example, if someone states publicly and/or in writing that their name
is a trademark, even if it isn’t registered, they might be able to
successfully prevent you from using it.  So it is best to do all you
can to discover whether or not any particular name is in use for the
purpose you have in mind.

Now, all that said, I’ve gone ahead and done a preliminary search for
you with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, on the names you’re
asking about (the main website for the USPTO is here: , and the main site for trademark info is here: )

--Miami:  There are 21 instances of registration of “Miami” as a
trademark, for products ranging from plumbing fixtures to stationery
to cosmetics to blankets and produce.  Among the “live” link returns,
I didn’t see any for clothing.  Here is a link to the search:

--Ivy League:  I found 9 registrations for this name, including this
one for clothing:
 (Serial # 74599552)
I used a different search method on this, and can’t save the link. 
However, if you go here: , which
is the “advanced”  search page, type in the following term:
ivy-league[FM] ,you will find the results.

--Orchid:  There were 30 returns for this name, including citrus
fruit, circuit boards, frozen squid and plumbing fixtures, but no
clothing among the “live” registrations.
Here’s the search link:

In addition, I did a search for available internet domains on these
names at Network Solutions, with the following results:,,, and are
available, but not any others.  Here’s a link to the search page,
where you can see and/or try some others yourself.;jsessionid=UIP353P5KVWRUCWLEALSFEY?_requestid=1103102

Here are links to additional information on choosing and protecting
brand names:

--An excellent article written by a property rights attorney:

--National Association of Secretaries of State (for information on
registering your mark in your own state):  And
here’s a .pdf file with a list of states, indicating in which state
you can register your trademark with the SS:
--Information specific to Nebraska, but nevertheless with much good
general advice:

--Great article, targeting the restaurant business, but also with good
general information: 

--Here’s a company that offers an online course on “Strategic Brand
Management” (though I couldn’t find a price):

--Several books on trademarking available from

Here are some additional places for you to search for names/brands of

--Clothing Manufacturer directories:

--Lists of clothing brands: 
:// (for business searches in your area):

I hope you find this information helpful.  If there’s anything you
don’t understand, please do ask for clarification before rating and
closing the question so I can be sure you’ve received the information
you’re looking for.  Best of luck to you in your venture.


Search strategy:
--Personal bookmark(s) for USPTO, and Network
Solutions.    In addition, I used the following Google search terms:
  protecting “brand name”
“clothing manufacturers” list OR directory
"clothing brands" list OR directory
johnstri-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Very helpful. thank you.

Subject: Re: How do I find out if "Miami","Ivy League" or "as a clothing line is copywritten?
From: byrd-ga on 28 Aug 2003 06:57 PDT
Dear Johnstri,

Thank you very much for the five-star rating and generous tip. I'm so
glad you found the information helpful, and I wish you much success in
your business.

Best regards,

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