How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Name
How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Name is part of our Trademark Cost series.
Safeguarding the name that represents your company is paramount. Failure to do this can result in a loss of the goodwill that you’ve built up in your name – or worse – it can lead to a total loss of trademark rights.
As with all things related to building a business, though, cost is a basic consideration. Unfortunately, there are several expenses that cannot be avoided when trademarking a name or other text-based brand identifier. Having a working knowledge of the registration process, however, can help you avoid several unnecessary fees.
Trademark Search Fees
The trademark search that we do is $300.
In considering the total fees of the trademark registration process, it’s important not to overlook trademark search costs. This process can help ensure you’re not attempting to register a trademark that is already protected.
Some budding entrepreneurs on shoestring budgets opt to skip a clearance search. Part of the reason is likely because the step isn’t mandated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). By doing this, however, you’re risking the loss of time, money and potentially lots of headaches. You could even unknowingly put yourself in the crosshairs of trademark litigation. With about 4,000 trademark lawsuits filed annually, the situation is anything but uncommon.
To perform a search, the USPTO provides free use of the following tools:
- Basic Word Mark Search: This tool allows for simple text-based searches.
- Structured Word/Design Search: A bit more in-depth than the basic query. Allows two names to be searched. Design codes can also be queried.
- Free Form Word/Design Search: Boolean logic provides more in-depth searches by allowing the use of operators (e.g. ‘and,’ ‘or,’ ‘not’) when searching multiple terms or design codes.
Utilizing these tools for a trademark search is better than foregoing the process altogether, and some trademark owners see it as a method of reducing the cost to trademark a name. Unfortunately, inexperienced users may not fully understand how to use the USPTO website. This is why hiring a professional such as a trademark attorney is always recommended.
When you treat this as a necessary cost to trademark a name, you’ll receive a memo summarizing our search on the following:
- Similar names located at the trademark office.
- Similar business names.
- Common law trademarks we were able to locate searching the Internet.
- Domain names which may represent confusingly similar trademarks.
Our search memo typically includes information such as currently registered trademarks, pending applications, expired registrations, abandoned trademarks, and more. The memo will also include a summary of the findings and considerations for what your next steps should be.
When performed correctly, these clearance searches can be effective in both identifying any potential confusion and avoiding trademark infringement. Our experience is that Individuals who attempt trademark searches on their own run into issues due to inexperience and a lack of understanding of what constitutes consumer confusion. Considering these issues and the benefits of a professional clearance search, every brand owner should consider this an essential cost of trademarking a name.
Trademark Government Fees
Generally, the government filing fee for a trademark application is $250 per class.
The overall cost to trademark a name will vary dependent upon the number of trademark classes that you file in and whether you file on an actual use or Intent to Use basis. For example, you will typically pay lower fees if your product/service is already being sold rather than in the planning stages.
TEAS Filing Fees
When submitting an application through the Trademark Electronic Application (TEAS), there are three tiers of fees that users can choose from. The most affordable option has the strictest submission guidelines that must be followed. It’s important to ensure you provide all necessary information in the forms. Failure to do so can result in registration delays.
Consider the costs and benefits to each of these filing methods:
- TEAS Plus: This is the lowest cost for trademark registration at $250, but it also has the strictest requirements. Forms and communication must be handled digitally, and payment of the fee is due immediately.
- TEAS RF: This reduced fee TEAS option costs $350. Requirements are less strict than the Plus application, but the applicant must still agree to utilize the digital system for all communications and submissions.
- TEAS Regular: The regular filing option costs $400, but it also features the least strict application guidelines. Online minimum filing requirements must be met.
When calculating the cost to trademark a name, keep in mind that these fees are paid on a per-class basis. If your product or service falls under multiple classes and you want full protection, you’ll need to list each in your application and pay the appropriate fees. Costs related to additional trademark classes can add up quickly, but it’s the only way to ensure your trademark is completely protected.
Use in Commerce Applications
Submitted applications that are based on current use in commerce generally do not experience additional government expenses ruing the application process. You may be accessed an additional fee of $125, though, if the appropriate TEAS form isn’t submitted. You need only submit a first-use affidavit and evidence that your trademarked name has been used in commerce.
Intent to Use Applications
U.S. law once required that trademarks be used commercially before an application could be filed. This changed with the Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988. While you can’t be granted full registration prior to actual use, it is permissible to submit an application and begin the process. This will give you an earlier submission date and get your applied-for name published in the Official Gazette.
After your Intent to Use Trademark application is accepted for publication, it will face the same 30-day opposition period experienced by traditional submissions. If no one opposes your application during this time, you’ll receive a Notice of Allowance rather than confirmation that the trademark has registered. This will begin a six-month period in which you must use the trademark in commerce.
Once actual use has occurred, you’ll need to submit a Statement of Use along with evidentiary specimens. This requires an additional $100 fee. If you cannot meet the six-month deadline, you’re allowed to request an extension. The USPTO will grant multiple extensions, but each will require an additional $125 per-class fee.
One of the easiest ways to lower the cost to trademark a name is simply abiding by all set deadlines. If you fail in doing this, you could face trademark abandonment during the application process. Your submission can be revived, but it will cost an additional $100 to do so. This must take place within two months of learning of the application status. Petitions aren’t accepted after six months of abandonment.
Trademark Maintenance Fees
Permanent rights are not granted once your trademark registers. You must periodically file renewal documents and additional affidavits of use. After five years of registration – but not more than six years – a Section 8 form must be submitted attesting to continued use or excused nonuse. At this time you should also submit a declaration of incontestability.
After nine years of registration – but not more than ten years – you’ll need to file a Section 9 renewal form in addition to another Section 8 form. These two must be filed every ten years from this point on. If you miss a deadline, you’ll have a six-month grace period in which to file.
Fighting Wrongful Registrations
The cost to trademark a name and maintain its registration may not be the end of your USPTO expenses. If someone attempts to register a brand identifier that’s confusingly similar to your own, you may need to file a Trademark Opposition during the publication period. There is a $600 per-class government fee for doing this. You may be able to avoid this fee by catching the application early and submitting a Letter of Protest. In instances of infringement, we also suggest a trademark cease and desist letter.
If a confusingly similar brand identifier registers, you can still file a Trademark Cancellation. This also comes with a $600 per-class fee. The process is sometimes seen as a preferable alternative to trademark litigation. This depends upon how much harm has your brand undergone. Courts award about $500 million in trademark damages per year, with around 85 percent was in default judgments.
Trademark Attorney Fees
Our professional fee to prepare and file a trademark application and do basic follow up through registration is $650.
Since it is always recommended to use a trademark attorney, you must also consider trademark attorney fees. Hiring a lawyer is an aspect of intellectual property protection that’s not mandated by the USPTO. Their guidelines are very specific, though, in mentioning that this is a good idea: “We strongly encourage [IP owners] to hire a U.S.-licensed attorney who specializes in trademark law to guide [them] through the registration process.”
Statistics support the statement of the USPTO. Trademark applications submitted by attorneys have a 50 percent higher rate of success over do-it-yourself submissions. The cost of a trademark attorney can vary widely. Some lawyers will charge thousands of dollars while some will charge a few hundred. The best option is likely somewhere in the middle.
What’s the Full Cost to Trademark a Name?
Considering the potential variables in every situation, the cost to trademark a name can differ significantly between applicants. If your brand identifier meets the minimum filing requirements and is unlikely to cause consumer confusion, you could get a clearance search and have your trademark application submitted with the government filing fee for about $1,200.
This cost can go up if you’re applying under multiple classes or on an intent to use basis, but it’s still worth the expense. Many of the issues encountered by brand owners can be avoided by simply getting the process right from the start.
If you are considering filing a trademark application for a name, please feel free to contact us today.