How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Phrase


How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Phrase

How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Phrase is part of our Trademark Cost series. 

If you’re using a phrase to advertise your company, it’s important that it also receive trademark protection. Simple phrases such as “Just Do It” and “Where’s the Beef” have become synonymous with brands.

Your industries and other unique circumstances can affect the fees you’ll encounter while trademarking a phrase. Thoroughness in your application can minimize some of these costs, but others are simply unavoidable. With the following information, however, you’ll be well on your way to securing trademark protection.

Cost of a Trademark Search

Trademark searches are meant to ensure your phrase isn’t already registered by another individual or brand. A search prior to submitting your application is not required, but not doing a search can be very costly and damaging to your business. At a minimum, applying to trademark a phrase that’s already in use will result in the loss of your submission fee.  In a worst-case scenario, however, it could alert another trademark owner that you’ve been using their registered trademark. This will be viewed as trademark infringement and could land your company in court. In fact, plaintiffs file more than 4,000 trademark lawsuits each year.  A trademark search can help avoid this.

Trademark owners can attempt to clear a trademark themselves via the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), and this will add nothing to the cost of trademarking a phrase. Unfortunately, it is very easy to miss trademarks that will block your trademark application.  Slight mis-spelling and words with similar connotations are just two examples of how a conflicting trademarks can be missed.

The importance of a trademark search cannot be overstated, but any of the aforementioned issues can make all your efforts in vain. Utilizing a trademark attorney can result in a more in-depth examination that finds potential conflicting trademarks. Though you can easily spend more than $1,000 for a profession search, at Mandour & Associates the cost of a trademark search is $400.

Cost of Trademark Attorney

Hiring a trademark attorney is another aspect of the registration process that’s not technically required. The USPTO’s Trademark Information Network provides a wealth of information for those who want to attempt the registration process on their own. The website of the USPTO does point out, however, that trademark searches undertaken by attorneys are more comprehensive than basic searches.

The cost of a trademark attorney can vary dependent on a variety of factors. Some of these professionals charge by the hour while others offer flat rate fees. Regardless of your specific circumstances, though, price should never be the only deciding factor.

The cost to trademark a phrase at our firm is a flat $950, and we’ll work to ensure your government registration fees are as low as possible.

Cost for USPTO Filing Fees

Unlike trademark attorneys and searches, specific costs for USPTO filing fees are preset and don’t vary. The fee for a single-class Statement of Use extension request, for instance, is the same regardless of your situation. This isn’t to say that every applicant will pay the same price for their filing. Where you are in your trademark journey will dictate the fees you’re responsible for.

TEAS Filing Fees

The first USPTO filing fee costs you’ll encounter are related to your application submission in the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). This fee is contingent upon the type of registration you submit through the system. The most thorough applications – which are typically what trademark attorneys will submit – cost $250.

The requirements for each TEAS submission are below:

  • TEAS Plus: This low-cost filing fee is $250. Strict requirements must be met for its submission. In addition to meeting minimum filing requirements, applicants must agree to electronic communication and submissions. The filing fee is required immediately.
  • TEAS RF: The reduced fee TEAS application costs $350 and the requirements are slightly less stringent. Electronic submissions and communication are required but you are allowed to vary your descriptions of goods and services from the pre-canned options.
  • TEAS Regular: The traditional TEAS application is $400. Minimum filing requirements must be met, and electronic communications and submissions aren’t required.

These fees apply if you’re trademarking a phrase under a single class. Registering under additional classes will result in extra per class costs. While registering for multiple trademark classes can become costly, this is the only true way to fully protect your trademark from any misuse.

Use in Commerce Applications

Applications once required that a slogan or phrase already be used in commerce prior to filing a trademark application. If you’ve engaged in bona fide use of this trademark, there are no additional USPTO filing fee costs. Proof of use along with first-use affidavits must be included. If you submit the wrong TEAS application, an additional fee will become due.

Intent to Use Applications

Beginning in 1988, trademark candidates’ trademarks no longer need prior use in commerce for an application to be submitted. Applicants must attest to the fact that they have a bona fide intent to use their phrase or slogan in commerce rather than simply “squatting” on the trademark.  Intent to Use trademark applications must go through the same process as traditional trademarks.

The major differences between use-based and intent-to-use applications are the fees and registration notice. Rather than being registered following the opposition period, registrations based on intent to use will receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA). Receipt of this notice begins a six-month timeframe in which evidence of use must be submitted via a Statement of Use. This must be accompanied by a $100 fee.

If you don’t use your phrase or slogan within six months, you can request an extension for $125 per class. Subsequent extensions (up to five, total) must be filed prior to a previous extension’s expiration.

Trademark Renewals

Trademarking a phrase doesn’t grant permanent rights to its exclusive use. You must file maintenance documents – which include additional fees – throughout the life of its use. Between five and six years after registration, you must file a Section 8. This attests to the fact that you’re either still using your mark commercially or have an acceptable reason for not doing so.  At this time you should also file a Section 15 Declaration for incontestability.

Between nine and ten years following registration, you’ll need to submit a Section 9 renewal in addition to your required Section 8. You’ll need to file renewals and pay the fees every ten years after this point.

How to Trademark a Phrase

To summarize, the starting point in trademarking a phrase is to always start with a trademark search.  Once you know a likelihood of confusion wouldn’t occur with existing registrations, the TEAS portal is where you’ll handle the entire submission process.  If you’ve opted to trademark a phrase on your own, the likelihood of trademark infringement and receiving an Office Action is much higher, which is why we recommend that you utilize a trademark attorney.  For more information, please see our how to trademark a phrase page.

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For assistance in filing a trademark for a phrase, please contact us.


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