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A Guide to Understanding Trademark Cost

What does a Trademark Cost?

A trademark costs $400 for electronic trademark applications and $600 for paper filings, both per-class of goods or services selected registering for a federal trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Should You Register for a Trademark?

A trademark user can build rights for a mark by frequently using the mark in commerce. If the user relies on just common-law rights for their trademark, they won’t have to pay fees to formalize rights for it. However, there are some risks. Someone else may may obtain the trademark. If a trademark user has obtained the right to use the mark in a certain geographic location, you will lose the right to use your trademark in that area. Or the trademark holder may accidentally infringe upon a mark that is already registered. Due to these risks, it could cost less to enforce a registered mark than to enforce a common-law mark.

In some cases, it makes sense to register a trademark as soon as possible so that you can maximize the value of your brand and minimize the possibility of infringement. Also, in the long run, a trademark may be more valuable because it is registered.

What Are the Benefits of Federal Registration?

It is possible to register a trademark in most states, and in most cases it will be less expensive and easier. However, a state trademark is often less useful than a federal trademark. If you’re wondering whether you should register a trademark with the federal government or your state, here are some of the benefits of federal registration:

  • Concrete evidence of ownership of the trademark.
  • The right to use the trademark nationwide for the products and services you listed during registration. This can become a conclusive after you use the trademark for five years continuously.
  • The trademark will be listed in the online databases of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • There will be public notice of the mark whether the “®” is used or not. Therefore, an infringer will not be able to claim that he did not know about the mark.
  • The right to file an infringement of a trademark lawsuit with the Federal Court.
  • The right to recover attorney’s fees and enhanced damages in Federal Court if the “®” federal registration symbol is used.
  • The right to prevent infringing products and counterfeits from entering the country by registering the trademark with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.
  • The right to use the federal registration to obtain trademark registration in other countries.

Why You Shouldn’t File for a Trademark

You haven’t researched the availability of the trademark.

If you attempt to register a trademark without doing research, you will likely encounter trouble. You may not know about any infringement issues until the patent office examiner rejects your application, citing prior registration. Even if your application is successful, third parties can petition for the cancellation of the registration for about five years. Therefore, it’s better to do research at the start to ensure that infringement won’t be an issue, rather than waste money and time filing a trademark application. You can use the USPTO website to start your research or consult a trademark attorney for help.

The mark is incredibly descriptive.

If a trademark is very descriptive, the patent office may refuse to register it. For example, if a mark describes a characteristic, ingredient, feature, quality, purpose, use, or function of goods or services, the mark may be far too descriptive for registration. An experienced trademark lawyer will be able to know whether a trademark can be registered, giving you the chance to alter a descriptive trademark so that it is eligible for registration.

The trademark will be short-lived.

If you attempt to register a trademark, the earliest you can expect it to be accepted is within six months. However, if the trademark is not currently in use or there are objections to registration, it can take far longer. If you don’t intend to use the trademark for a long duration, you may not want to waste your time and resources in filing. You can just depend on common-law rights if you know the trademark will be short-lived.

You already own a registration that is very similar.

You don’t need to register a trademark for every little thing. In the United States, there is the “related goods” doctrine that will protect the trademark for services and goods that are similar to those already covered by another registration. For example, you may need to register a trademark for pants if you have already filed an application for a mark for T-shirts. If a third party attempts to use the mark to sell pants, it will likely be seen as trademark infringement because consumers will assume the pants came from the same trademark holder as the T-shirts.

What Does It Cost to Obtain a Trademark?

To file an application for a new trademark, the government fees are usually $225 per class if you select the specific goods and services from the trademark office’s pre-set list. You also need to file electronically and follow a few other rules. However, if you want to enter your own text, it will cost you $275 per class.

For example, if you file an application for a trademark for clothing (class 25) and jewelry (class 14), you can expect to pay about $550 in government fees. You will pay this fee to the United States Patent and Trademark Office when you apply.

An additional cost for filing a trademark is the fee for an attorney or a trademark service. Attorney fees vary by individual and state, for example trademark attorneys in Austin may have different experience and knowledge compared to trademark attorneys in San Francisco or other regions of the U.S. A general attorney will help you prepare and file an application for a trademark for a flat fee. Usually, the flat fee is between $300 and $1000. An experienced trademark attorney will typically charge $1000 to $2000. However, if you are filing a trademark for multiple classes, the attorney fees may be higher. Online trademark services usually cost $400 to $500.

Once you have filed the application, the Trademark Examiner or the Examining Attorney will check the application. If the examiner refuses the application, you will receive the Office Action official letter of refusal. In some cases, the refusal will be easy to overcome. However, in other cases, you will need to do plenty of legal research and complete legal documents to get your application accepted. You don’t have to pay any fees to the government to respond to the Office Action If you need legal help to respond, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $2,000 in attorney fees for a response to the Office Action.

You can file a trademark application whether you have already used the mark to sell the goods and services or you intend to sell goods and services using the mark in the future. If you have not sold goods and services using the trademark, you will need to fill out a Statement of Use at the end of the application process. For every class of goods and services in the application, you will need to pay $100 in government fees for the Statement of Use. The attorney fees for preparing and filing the Statement of Use are generally between $250 and $700.

Of course, the trademark lawyer cost will depend on the number of classes and how hard it will be to get images of the use of your trademark. Some attorneys will charge you for any time spent answering your questions, talking about strategy, reviewing the registration certificate, and reporting your application’s status. So the total cost of attorney fees for a trademark application could be $2,500 or more.

You can cut classes from your application whenever you like. However, keep in mind that the trademark office will not refund the filing fees for those classes.

What Are the Ways to File a Trademark?

To file a trademark , you can do it on your own, use an online filing service, or hire a trademark attorney.

Do-It-Yourself

Undoubtedly, the least-expensive option for filing a trademark is doing it yourself. You can visit the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and complete the online form. Afterward, you pay the $275 government fee. While this may sound like an easy process, it could prove to be very difficult. The online forms on the trademark office’s site can be quite complicated and the legal jargon can be difficult to navigate. While the trademark office provides a guidebook for filling out the online forms, its 19 sections can be difficult to understand, particularly if you don’t have a legal background.

To file a successful application for a trademark, the prep work is often far more important than the filing. Of course, you need to file the application correctly. However, format and wording matters even more. If you don’t word or format the application correctly, you may not receive the breadth or depth of protection you want, and your application may even be rejected.

Use an Online Filing Service

There are many online filing services that you can use to file a trademark application. It can cost as little as $200 to file a trademark application, not including the government fees. The services will do a basic search of the trademark system to make sure there are no conflicts with another trademark. Online filing services will also check the spelling and grammar of the application as well as the design of the logo, the color adjustment, and basic digitization.

Most online filing services will make sure that you complete the form correctly. However, you cannot count on them to give you legal counsel and advice.

Hire a Trademark Attorney

If you hire a trademark attorney, you can expect to pay up to $2,000, including the filing fee. If there is more work required in the process, you can pay another $300 to $400 per hour for the help. Even though attorney fees are expensive, a trademark attorney can be a very valuable resource. A good attorney will be able to do an extensive trademark search for you. He or she will also do a trademark assessment to make sure infringement is not an issue.

An attorney will be able to advise you when it comes to the uniqueness and strength of your trademark and whether you’re using the name or logo in a way that doesn’t meet the requirements for filing. The trademark attorney will also format and word your application to make sure you have a good chance of having your trademark approved.

Are There Costs After Filing the Application?

Once you file the application, any additional costs will depend on how you actually use the trademark. If you intend to use the trademark at some point in the future, you will need to fill out a Statement of Use once you begin using the mark. If you fail to file a Statement of Use within six months of using the trademark, you will be charged an extra fee of $100. The $100 fee is also applicable to the Declaration of Continued Use that you will need to pay five to six years after registration of the trademark. Trademark registration lasts for a decade. Therefore, you will need to file the Declaration of Continued Use and a renewal application after 10 years. The government fee is $400 for each class. If your trademark is filed in more classes, you can expect to pay more in fees.

What Are Your Responsibilities After Registering the Trademark?

Once you have successfully registered the trademark, you will have some further responsibilities. The trademark office requests that the holder help enforce the protection of the trademark. Therefore, you will need to be on the lookout for generalization or unauthorized use of the mark. The patent office will stop all unauthorized use of the trademark, but the trademark holder needs to be aware of the unauthorized use. Some law firms provide Trademark Monitoring Services that will notify you of all new USPTO filings that may infringe your trademark. Some law firms will also remind you about renewal deadlines for your trademark. Finally, a law firm may help you make sure that you use the trademark properly while following the patent office’s requirements.

Should You File a Trademark On Your Own?

It may be tempting to file a trademark application on your own or use an online service in order to save money, but it can be risky. While some experts estimate that 50 percent of trademark applications are initially rejected, other experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of first applications are rejected. Improper research, wording, and formatting are the most common reasons for a trademark rejection. These issues can usually be bypassed by hiring a good attorney. If your trademark application is rejected, you will need to pay the government fees again, and you will likely have to hire an attorney to help you out.

Trademark Costs: Why You Should Hire an Attorney

While hiring an attorney will probably be the most expensive option for trademark application, it also can be far less risky. It is very likely that your application for a trademark will be successful if you hire a trademark attorney.

If you hire an attorney to provide legal help, you will have to do little to no research. A lawyer who specializes in trademark registration will be very familiar with the process and can answer any questions you may have. You also can also work with him or her to come up with a good strategy for obtaining your trademark. Post your legal needs here and UpCounsel can provide a list of experienced trademark attorneys in your area.

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