The advantages of having a registered trademark are absolutely enormous and cannot be overstated. A USPTO registered trademark ensures that only the applicant has the right to use the trademark in conjunction with the designated goods/services and in the event that a competitor infringes on these trademark rights, the competitor/infringer will subject to severe and meaningful legal consequences. Still, it is perfectly understandable that entrepreneurs and startups are concerned with the costs associated with obtaining trademark protection and it is important to understand what is financially at stake before beginning the trademark process.
SO, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO OBTAIN A TRADEMARK
The cost to register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be a function of the following:
- The Government Filing Fees
- The amount of money the trademark attorney charges to assess the inherent registrability of your trademark, conduct a trademark search in the USPTO database, file the trademark application, manage the application etc.
Remember, when one “owns a trademark”, he only has proprietary rights to that trademark in conjunction with a specific set of goods/services. In order to effectively communicate to the USPTO what specifically it is that is to be sold and provided under the trademark, the USPTO has divided all potential goods and services into 45 different categories of goods/services, which are referred to as International Classes. While the first 34 classes account for products, classes 35-45 cover services. So, if you were to file a trademark with the purpose of using the trademark in conjunction with the sale of T-shirts, you would simply designate CL 025, which covers apparel, and list in the description box the goods “T-Shirts”.
GOVERNMENT FILING FEES ASSOCIATED WITH REGISTERING A TRADEMARK
The USPTO charges a flat fee of either $225.00 or $275.00 PER CLASS OF GOODS. This means that the USPTO doesn’t charge the applicant, per trademark, but rather according to how many different types of goods/services the applicant intends on selling under the trademark. Why is the fee either $225 or $275? Well, the main difference between these two fees is the degree to which the applicant can select and curate the description of the goods/services listed in the application. Under the TEAS PLUS trademark application, which costs $225.00/Class, the trademark applicant is required to select the goods/services from a pre-set listing from the Trademark Identification Manual (TIM). Conversely, under the TEAS STANDARD trademark application, which costs $275.00/Class, the trademark applicant can draft his/her own unique description of the goods services. Therefore, depending on the complexity and individuality of the goods/services that you’re selling, you may be able to rely on the $225.00 application or conversely, you may have to spend a bit more on the $275.00 to customize your description. This is quite common for tech startups where the goods that are being sold full of technical and idiosyncratic jargon.
Next, as we have covered in previous posts, it is perfectly common for entrepreneurs and startups that are at the beginning of their company’s journey to apply for trademark protection before they have actually started making any sales. Of course, a trademark can only be registered when it is used in conjunction with the sale of a good/service so you may correctly be wondering, how do these startups apply before use? Very simple. The USPTO recognizes that companies have an interest in protecting their name/logo/slogan after the marketing phase has begun but before any sales have occurred and therefore, allow applicants in this situation to apply for a 1(b) Intent-to-use trademark application. Here, the applicant is instructing that while he/she may not be using the mark in commerce yet, he intends to use the mark in commerce and therefore is allowed to obtain a preliminary set of protections that can mature into full registration rights once the mark is in fact used in interstate commerce.
The Gov. Filing fee at the time of filing the 1(b), Intent-to-use- application is the same BUT after a six month period, the applicant either has to file a Statement of Use, which costs $100.00/Class OR the applicant can file an extension of time request to file the statement of use which costs $125.00/Cl.
LEGAL FEES ASSOCIATED WITH REGISTERING A TRADEMARK
There is unfortunately uniform or “market price” for how much a trademark attorney may charge for filing a trademark application but it is our law firm’s very strong belief that trademark filings must be charged on a flat fee basis, rather than on an hourly basis (which can get out of hand quickly). At Cohn Legal, PLLC, the cost is a flat fee of $650, which covers a full legal consultation, an analysis of your trademark’s inherent eligibility based on its distinctiveness, a full TM search in the USPTO database, and all of the logistical work involved in preparing and filing the trademark application. We take great pride in our willingness and ability to walk our client’s through strategy and branding sessions, which help determine the best for trademark, and ultimately, brand protection.
FINAL COST TO OBTAIN A TRADEMARK REGISTRATION
Assuming that you are already using the trademark in commerce and do not need to file an intent to use application, the cost for filing a trademark is a flat fee of $650 + Gov. Filing Fees of either $225 or $275 per class of goods. We can of course help you draft the description for your goods/services and help you determine if you can use the $225.00/CL tm application or if you require the $275.00 Application. Finally, if you are filing a trademark application for one Class of Goods, the entire process should cost you under a thousand bucks.