Trademarking your brand protects your business from competitors. Often, a business name is your most valuable asset. Trademarking it with the United States Patent Trademark Office gives you legal, nationwide protection against similar names your competitors may try to use.
The cost of applying for and maintaining a trademark depends on several factors. However, it is a worthwhile investment. In addition, consumers often have multiple choices for any product they need, and trademarking your business name assures them of quality.
Trademark costs range from $250 per filing, depending on the application form option and the classes of services or goods in your application. You may also have to pay additional search fees, filing-based fees, and maintenance fees.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a logo, name, symbol, or phrase that distinguishes the products or services of a particular business from the competition. Trademarks differ from patents and copyrights, which protect different intellectual property assets.
There are two trademarking registration levels, state and federal. Trademarking your business at the state level is simple and inexpensive.
However, its legal protection is limited. On the other hand, trademarking your business through the United States Patent and Trademark Office is costly and offers you more legal protection.
Registering your trademark at the federal level offers you protection nationwide. In addition, you get the right to print the registered trademark logo on your assets, making it easy to notify your competitors of your trademark status.
Trademark Application Filing Options
Trademark applications are classified through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
You can make your application through paper or electronic forms. However, you may be charged more for manual filing through paper.
The initial application form offers two options:
- TEAS Plus: This filing option costs $250 per class of services or goods.
- TEAS Standard: This filing option costs $350 per class of services or goods.
The TEAS Plus filing option is basic and more straightforward compared to TEAS Standard. Both options offer a list of precompiled descriptions of goods and services, and you can customize the options.
Customizing the options allows you to give a more accurate description for better protection. You can also opt for TEASi, which allows applicants to file international protections.
In some cases, TEAS Plus is rigid and may not offer you the flexibility to customize your trademark correctly.
If you prefer more flexibility, consider using the TEAS Standard filing option, which allows you to customize the full definition in the class.
You must file each class of goods or services your trademark covers when filing your application.
For instance, if you sell shoes and custom-designed services, your trademark may cover shoes as goods and custom-designing as a service.
The number of classes you choose determines your total trademarking cost.
Additional Trademarking Costs
Aside from the filing costs, there are additional trademarking costs to consider.
Trademark Search Fees
The first step before filing a trademark application is searching. A trademark search ensures no existing businesses use the same brand, logo, name, or slogan. An attorney can conduct the trademark search starting from $500 and up.
A trademark search is one of the most critical steps in avoiding legal trouble as a first-time applicant.
The search should be comprehensive to avoid future trademark infringement lawsuits. It also informs you whether you need to change your name, logo, or slogan if there is a conflict.
The clearance search is conducted through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS.) However, the USPTO suggests searching beyond their database as some trademarks exist outside TESS.
While the search service is free, using an attorney protects you in the long run. Hiring an experienced professional ensures you get the descriptions right and prevents future conflicts.
Trademark Maintenance Fees
Five years after filing your trademark, you must pay additional maintenance costs to demonstrate that the trademark is still in use. You must submit a Section 8 declaration and pay the fees for each class which costs $225.
After nine years, you must also submit the section 8 declaration and the Section 9 renewal application at $525 per class. The USPTO gives businesses up to 6 months after the due date. However, there are late filing fees of $100 – $200 per class.
While some businesses complete the trademark filing process without professional help, hiring an attorney can significantly simplify the process. A trademark attorney can help you start the process of safeguarding your brand by conducting a thorough search to help you avoid future lawsuits.
In addition, a trademark attorney is more familiar with the process and can help you provide accurate descriptions which prevent future infringement. An inaccurate description leaves your brand vulnerable and may even weaken your trademark.
Remember, you do not get a refund on your application fee if your application is denied. Hiring a trademark lawyer can help you get it right the first time and save you money. Contact a trademark attorney to protect your brand.