For U.S. trademarks, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the place to go to register your trademark or service mark and protect it from being used by someone else. Figuring out the costs can be a little overwhelming, so here are the basics.
The USPTO has two different application filing systems: the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) and an international system (TEASi). The TEASi system is an e-filing system that allows you to file forms required under the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol is managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO. Filing with the WIPO through the USPTO allows you to to file one international trademark registration application in all Madrid Protocol countries.
Costs Before You Apply for a Trademark
Your first cost for a trademark application is for doing a thorough search of other trademarks that have been applied for and registered. You can do the search at no cost by using the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
You might also want to hire an attorney to do the search for you, to make sure you aren’t missing a mark that might be too close to yours. This cost varies on whether you want to search internationally or locally, and it can be up to several thousand dollars.
How Trademark Filing Costs Work
The first variable in trademark costs is the number of objects or types of services you want to trademark. You must file a separate trademark application for every class. A class is a type of product or service where your trademark appears. For example, if you have your trademark on t-shirts, mugs, and pens, you must file three trademark applications.
All the trademark application costs in this article are per class of product or service. Remember to figure your costs based on the number of classes. Here’s a list of current classes.
Two Levels of Trademark Application Costs
The USPTO has an initial application form with two filing options: TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard.
The standard TEAS application is the “basic” application. The cost of an initial application is $275 per class, for both paper and electronic filing.
TEAS Plus is the least expensive and streamlined application. You must file a complete application, pay all filing fees at the time of filing, agree to file certain documents electronically, and receive all communications via email. Another benefit to the TEAS Plus application is faster service. The cost of an initial application is $225 per class, for both paper and electronic filing.
TEASi filing fees include a $100 certification fee to the USPTO and fees that must be paid to the WIPO. The WIPO has a fee calculator you can use to estimate the cost of registering your mark through the Madrid System.
How to Pay Trademark Fees
The easiest way to pay trademark fees is to set up an account with USPTO's Financial Manager system. The financial manager is a membership system that allows you to set up a credit or debit card account or electronic funds transfer EFT) account, assign permissions, and receive notifications.
If you use a trademark or service mark after your begin the registration and before the USPTO approves your registration, you’ll need to use the ™ or ℠ designations. When your registration has been approved, you can use the ® designation.
Additional Trademark Application Costs
Drawing Costs. You must submit a “clear drawing” of the mark (the logo or name/logo combination) that meets specific requirements. A trademark design might cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars.
Statement of Use Fee. If you file your trademark application before using it, you need to file a declaration later when you begin using it. The cost of filing this declaration is $100 electronically or $200 by paper.
Applications for renewal of a trademark are $300 per class.
Continuing Cost of Maintaining a Trademark
Trademarks aren't “set it and forget it.” To continue your trademark protection, you must maintain it and report your maintenance activities. The USPTO calls this process “keeping your trademark alive.” There is a cost to these reports, and a separate filing must be made for every class of goods or services in the registration.
Between the 5th and 6th year after registration you must file a Section 8 declaration. This document is your sworn statement that you are using the trademark, with an example of how it’s being used. The filing fee is $125 for filing electronically using the TEAS system, or $225 if filed on paper.
Every ten years after registration you must file a Combined Section 8 and 9 declaration. The Section 8 declaration is the same as above, with an application for renewal (Section 9). The filing fee is $425 if you file electronically using the TEAS system, or $725 if you file on paper.
If you want even more protection for your trademark over time, you can file a Declaration of Incontestability. Your filing of this declaration keeps others from challenging your use of the mark or to argue that the mark should not have been registered. There are some restrictions and requirements for using this filing. The filing fee is $200 if you file electronically using TEAS or $300 if you file on paper.
Costs of Using a Trademark Attorney
The trademark process can be complicated, and a trademark can be rejected for a variety of reasons. If you are really serious about getting your logo trademarked, you should consider paying for an attorney to work through the process.
These are just the basic costs for trademark applications. There are other costs for expedited service, renewal, late fees, and others. Here’s a complete list of USPTO trademark fees.