Word marks can serve as trademarks, as can symbols/logos. You should see a trademark attorney about whether the marks are available in the class(es) you may seek registration -- that is what they do. Depending upon how soon you will be coming out with your clothing line, you may be able to file an "Intent To Use" trademark application, but again, you should speak privately with a trademark attorney.
This information is intended to be general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be specific legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship. I require a signed retainer agreement from a potential client to establish an attorney-client relationship and before I will provide specific legal representation.
Richard is correct. If you wanted to learn more about what you are looking to do before sitting down with a lawyer (the more educated you are on the topic the better), start with the United States Patent and Trademark office website (http://www.uspto.gov/) as it has a lot of helpful information.
Legal disclaimer: The answer provided above is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.
Mr. Jason "J. Dawg" Fisher,
That is a very fine name, that I am sure could be built into a brand over time and with hard work.
You may trademark words, logo's symbols, etc, as long as they are not generic, are distinct, and not in use already (in your particular market/industry). A quick Google search of J. Dawg results in numerous websites having J. Dawg (most are for YouTube videos by a music artist named J Dawg).
Regardless, to register your trademarks, first you need to make sure it can be a trademark (not generic, distinct, etc.) and then you need to conduct a thorough search of records (government, state, local) private sector businesses and public domains. There are numerous professional agencies that conduct these searches for a reasonable fee, or most trademark attorneys either can do it or have relationships with other law firms that conduct such thorough searches. [If you are not the J. Dawg of the many YouTube videos, you likely can not obtain a trademark for J. Dawg in the music industry, but may be able to obtain the J. Dawg mark for clothing (as long as the other J. Dawg does not also make/sell a clothing line.)]
Once a search s complete and you understand where your mark is available for use, your trademark attorney can apply for your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. (The earlier search prevent wasting money on a trademark already in use).
Many people try to skip a proper search or attempt to file on their own, only to learn that their trademark is too generic for protection, already in use by another, their filing only results in protection for a particular font or color and anyone can use other fonts, colors, and/or other improper filing resulting in the wrong type/area/market/territory of protection, or any of a number of complicated issues resulting in a lack of protection. It is not something I suggest anyone undertake without advice from a trademark attorney.
Finally, I suggest a logo/brand/mark is only as valuable as the reputation it has developed with its customers. Paying for a trademark will not create high demand, but high demand does create the strongest trademarks. On the other hand, building your reputation only to learn that someone else has registered J. Dawg in your industry before you could be devastating. Thus, you should seek the counsel of a trademark attorney, to discuss in confidence your intentions (unlike this public forum), and with this sound advice, either pursue the registration or not.
My disclaimer is simply that Avvo already has an adequate disclaimer.
But please do not try to do it yourself. The USPTO system is geared to having professionals carry things through. Amateurs in the kitchen just drop trays and end up costing themselves money and perhaps the marks they want.
Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.
I agree with my colleagues who have responded. I have a few adds. In order to be issued a trademark, you have to be actively selling a good or service under the brand. With respect to "J Dawg" for clothing, the USPTO is likely to perceive your "logo" as not a "mark" but instead as an ornamental design unless the tags for your shirts contain the logo. I.e. you will not be able to get a trademark for "J.Dawg" if your the tags for your T-Shirts say "Haynes" and you just have a picture of a cool "dog" on the front.
Please do not take my response to your question as offering specific legal advice. To offer specific legal advice, I would need to know a lot more information regarding your specific legal issue than you have provided. Additionally, I have taken the time to respond out of my own desire to be a good "legal" citizen and help good folks like yourself with legal related issues; however, my response is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.